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KU Aerospace Short Course Program

Conceptual Design of Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Instructor: Bill Donovan
Printable Course Information (PDF)

Course Schedule

November 13-17, 2017, Orlando, Florida

Early registration course fee: $2,495 if you register and pay by September 29, 2017

Regular registration course fee: $2,695 if you register and pay after September 29, 2017

Orlando Lodging and Travel Information

You can also bring this course to your workplace. Learn more about our on-site program.


Conceptual approach to overall design of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) includes concepts of operations, communications, payloads, control stations, air vehicles and support. Includes requirements and architecture development, initial sizing and conceptual level parametric and spreadsheet assessment of major system elements.

Includes instruction, course materials, refreshments and lunches.
The course notes are for participants only and are not for sale.


  • Introduction to Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), including conceptual design issues and operating environments
  • Control station, communication and payload considerations and sizing
  • Life cycle cost estimation
  • Air vehicle parametric design and propulsion
  • Conceptual level aerodynamics
  • Standard atmosphere models
  • Conceptual level mass estimation
  • Parametric geometry
  • Air vehicle performance
  • Mission assessment
  • Methodology and correlation
  • Air vehicle optimization
  • Overall system optimization
  • Reliability, maintainability and support

Who Should Attend?

Designed primarily for practicing conceptual level design engineers, systems engineers, technologists, researchers, educators, and engineering managers. For maximum course benefit, students should have some knowledge of basic aerodynamics and conceptual aircraft design, although it is not mandatory. Basic knowledge of spreadsheet analysis methods is assumed.

Times / CEUs

31.50 classroom hours
3.150 CEUs

Certificate Tracks

Aircraft Design, Unmanned Aircraft

Learning Objectives

  • design and analyze overall unmanned aircraft systems
  • estimate sensor size and performance and impact on overall system performance
  • understand basic elements of UAS communications and know how to estimate overall communication system size and power requirements
  • develop overall concepts of cooperation and assess impacts of sortie rate and supportability
  • understand key air vehicle configuration drivers, how to estimate aero/propulsion/weight/stability, overall air vehicle performance, size and tradeoffs

Course Outline

Day One

  • Course introduction
  • Introduction to UAS
  • UAS conceptual design issues
  • Fundamentals of system design
  • UAS operating environments
  • Sortie rate estimates

Day Two

  • Requirements analysis
  • Control station considerations and sizing
  • Communication considerations/sizing
  • Payload (EO/IR and radar) considerations and sizing
  • Reliability, maintainability and support
  • Life cycle cost
  • Decision making

Day Three

  • Air vehicle parametric design
  • Conceptual level aerodynamics
  • Standard atmosphere models
  • Parametric propulsion

Day Four

  • Mass properties
  • Parametric geometry
  • Air vehicle performance
  • Mission assessment
  • Methodology and correlation

Day Five

  • Air vehicle optimization
  • Overall system optimization
  • Class design presentation

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On-site Contact Information

To learn about bringing a course to your workplace, contact Sarah Williams, on-site program manager, for a no-cost, no-obligation proposal.
Email ProfessionalPrograms@ku.edu
Phone 913-897-8782

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