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Aerospace UAV Fluid Systems - Question for News Article

  1. Apr 2, 2010 #1
    Trying to get some background for a potential news article about engineering challenges for aircraft fluid (primarily fuel and avionics cooling) systems – focusing on contrasts between designing for UAVs vs. manned aircraft.

    Engineers I already talked with have mentioned: designing effective avionics cooling systems within a smaller footprint and designing for more demanding mission profiles.

    Are these two challenges typical for UAV vs. manned aircraft fluid system design? Does anyone have other suggested design challenges that would be of interest?

    Just trying to make sure my article addresses relevant engineering topics before I invest time researching them. Any insights / suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 3, 2010 #2


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    Yes. The first, "designing effective avionics cooling systems within a smaller footprint," is a direct result of renewing the human from the vehicle. When the human passengers absent, the big hollow space provided for the passenger is no longer necessary. Neither are the stick and throttle, along with all other dials, knobs, buttons, and/or switches the human once used to communicate with the vehicle, along with all readouts, dials, gauges and other mechanisms vehicle once used to communicate with the human. This makes the vehicle much smaller.

    Of course, replacing the human requires a great deal of electronics, all of which generate heat. This additional heat generation, combined with a smaller surface area for dissipating heat poses significant challenges.

    The other challenge mentioned, "designing for more demanding mission profiles," is perhaps the greater. In most combat aircraft, the electronics can withstand far rougher treatment than the person. With the person removed, the limits on what maneuvers the aircraft can survive are determined entirely by the strength of the airframe and the onboard systems. In other words; so long as humans fly airplanes, there isn't much sense in building an airplane that can pull a turn in any greater than 10 G's. Once the human is removed, the only limit is how rugged you can make the vehicle.
  4. Apr 11, 2010 #3
    Thanks Lurch! Your comments were very helpful...

    However, after doing some additional research for my potential article over the past few days, I came across this related webinar. It looks pertinent, but I was wondering you might think about it:

    “Solving UAV Fuel and Avionics Cooling System Challenges”
  5. Apr 29, 2010 #4
    Thanks again Lurch. However, after discussing the UAV article with my editor, they have opted to run with another piece instead. They felt that my article would not have broad enough appeal for their readership. But I really appreciate your input. Thanks again...
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