AIAA Paper 2009-1603. Presented at the 47th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting Including The New Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition, January 5, 2009, pages 1-15. Copyright © 2009 by the authors. Published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc.
Aircraft design has formed the foundation of the aeronautical engineering curriculum at Cal Poly since the inception of the department in 1927. While the focus and approach for teaching aircraft design has changed a great deal over the decades, the importance of the Cal Poly “learn by doing” philosophy has been a constant element. The end result of this decades-long history of innovation and improvement has been the continued success of Cal Poly students in the AIAA design competitions, especially the Undergraduate Team Aircraft Design competition. Details about how the design curriculum has evolved and grown will be discussed, including how non-technical issues have been integrated into the coursework. The details provided should supply insight to students and professional engineers about the aircraft design educational approach at Cal Poly, and hopefully lead to improved design education at other universities.