Senior Design Class Project, Aero 444

A Standard Class Sailplane Design

Aeronautical Engineering
California Polytechnic State University


The design of a standard class sailplane is outlined here as an interative procedure. Since the cruising performance of a sailplane does not include powered flight, the overall design was accomplished independent of any powerplant requirements. A preliminary parametric design with a powerplant was accomplished in retrospect, where the design focused only on an engine-propeller combination in the climb configuration. The powerplant was not included in the working drawings for weight and balance. This design emphasizes performance in the cruise configuration between thermal convective air currents. The rising air within these "thermals" provides the powerplant design requirements. Hence considerable attention was focused on approximating lift within a rising thermal air mass (see figure below). This design only provides an outline for a parametric design procedure. Subsequent iterations will refine this preliminary effort that is shown here as a first approximation. Download full report (pdf, 25.6M), A Standard Class Sailplane Design

Ronald D. Kriz
College of Engineering
Virginia Tech

Revised December 10, 2004