Just like the DBVF competition, the Student Design Competition is organized by the US Vertical Flight Society. Every year one of the big VTOL companies sponsors the design competition and issues a proposal. University teams can compete in Graduate and undergraduate categories, trying to come up with a design that fulfils the proposal. This year Sikorsky is sponsoring a competition, they have requested a high-speed VTOL aircraft that would be safe for the ground personnel standing next to the aircraft during hover. This aircraft is most likely to be used for search and rescue operations.
For Lambach this is the first time participated in a theoretical competition. With a team of 4 bachelor’s and 1 master’s students, we will be competing in the undergraduate category. Upon completion of the design, the proposal will be sent to the Vertical flight society and reviewed, The performance of the team will be evaluated solely on the sent proposal.
This competition is a great challenge for us and the vertical take-off and landing requirement adds an additional challenge to the design. The literature as well as the general knowledge is very limited for VTOL aircraft, however we have found support within the TU Delft Faculty of Aerospace Engineering to help us. Lack of knowledge poses great challenges but also gives us design freedom. The high-speed requirement makes it impossible to use propellers for the cruise, and the safety of people on the ground during hover eliminates the use of jets for hover flight. Therefore two propulsion systems need to be integrated into this aircraft, which poses further challenges.