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KU Aerospace Short Course Program

Propulsion Systems for UAVs and General Aviation Aircraft

Instructor: Ray Taghavi
Printable Course Information (PDF)

Course Schedule

September 11-15, 2017, San Diego, California

Early registration course fee: $2,495 if you register and pay by July 28, 2017

Regular registration course fee: $2,695 if you register and pay after July 28, 2017

San Diego Lodging and Travel Information

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


This course provides an in-depth understanding of the state-of-the-art propulsion issues for UAVs and general aviation aircraft, including propulsion options, cycle analysis, principles of operation, systems, components, performance and efficiencies.

Includes instruction and a course notebook.
The course notes are for participants only and are not for sale.


  • Fundamentals of aircraft propulsion systems, engine types and aircraft engine selection
  • Aircraft spark-ignition, diesel and Wankel engines
  • Two-stroke and four-stroke cycle engines
  • Aircraft engine classification by cylinder arrangement, cooling, cycle, etc.
  • Carburetion, ignition and lubrication systems
  • Aviation fuels
  • Propellers
  • Engine testing and simulations
  • Electric propulsion
  • Overview of turbo-propeller and turboshaft engines
  • Engines for special applications, UAVs, RPVs, blimps, etc.

Who Should Attend?

Designed for propulsion engineers, aircraft designers, aerospace industry managers, educators, research and development engineers from NASA, FAA, and other government agencies.

Times / CEUs

35.00 classroom hours
3.500 CEUs

Certificate Tracks

Aircraft Design, Unmanned Aircraft

Learning Objectives

  • A broad knowledge of engines for UAVs and general aviation aircraft and their operation
  • Engine selection process for a specific aircraft and UAVs
  • Aircraft Engine Systems: Carburetion, fuel injection, FADEC, ignition and lubrication
  • The advantages and disadvantages of different propulsion options
  • Engine classifications based on cycle, cylinder arrangement, cooling, etc.
  • Propellers: classifications, practical issues, definitions and systems
  • Engine scaling
  • Small engine simulations
  • Electric propulsion
  • Aircraft engine testing

Course Outline

Day One

  • Overview: Fundamentals of aircraft propulsion systems, engine types and aircraft engine selection
  • Aircraft reciprocating engines: spark ignition and diesel engines: theory and cycle analysis, four stroke and two stroke cycles; brake horsepower, indicated horsepower and friction horsepower; engine parameter, efficiencies, classifications and scaling laws; practical issues

Day Two

  • Aircraft reciprocating engines (continued): components and classification: cylinder, piston, connecting rod, crankshaft, crankcase, valves and valve operating mechanism; lubrication systems, pumps, filters, oil coolers, etc.; induction system, supercharging, cooling (air and liquid), exhaust engine installation and compound engine; engine knocks (pre-ignition and detonation), aviation fuels, octane and performance number, backfiring and afterfiring

Day Three

  • Aircraft reciprocating engines (continued): carburetion and fuel injection systems, FA DEC; magneto (high and low tension), battery and electronic ignition systems, ignition boosters and spark plugs
  • Rotary engines: propeller: theory, types airfoils, material, governors, feathering, reversing, synchronizing, synchrophasing, de-icing, anti-icing and reduction gears

Day Four

  • Small gas turbine engines: cycles, inlets, compressors, combustors, turbines, exhaust systems, thrust reversers and noise suppressors; turbojet, turboprop, turboshaft, turbofan and propfan engines

Day Five

  • Engine noise: sources, suppression, measurement techniques and practical issues
  • Foreign Object Damage (FOD): ice, sand, bird
  • Engines for special applications: UAVs, RPVs, HALE, blimps

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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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