Aircraft System and Product Development: Teaching the Conceptual Phase
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AbstractThis paper reports the first offering of a graduate level subject covering the conceptual phase of aircraft product development. The output of the conceptual phase is a system level specification that usually serves as the input for a traditional undergraduate capstone subject on aircraft design. Of critical importance in the conceptual phase is addressing the business case for the candidate product. The conceptual phase spans a much wider range of topics than the technical issues which dominate preliminary design. These include user needs, investment and business requirements, market analysis, operational issues, exogenous constraints (certification, regulation, political, etc.), as well as engineering and manufacturing requirements. Students in the subject were required to Prepare for the Board of Directors of a large aerospace company a compelling business case and specification for a large jet transport product. Three student teams produced original responses to the challenge and have reported their findings in a companion AIAA paper. This paper addresses the pedagogical approaches and outcomes. These encompass the use of distance learning technology and techniques for several off-campus practicing engineering students. Overall, the outcome was very gratifying. The class will be offered in the spring of 2001, focusing on a supersonic business jet.