Degree Name

BS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering Department


Robert McDonald


This report summarizes a six month effort to conceptually design, develop, and build an unmanned aerial vehicle to test a boundary layer data system (BLDS) developed by Dr. Russell Westphal and his team of mechanical engineering senior design students. The project is funded by Edwards Air Force Base and the United States Air Force Research Laboratory. During the first Cal Poly quarter of project work, January 4, 2010 to March 18, 2010, the team completed a conceptual and preliminary design. During the second quarter, March 18, 2010 to June 12, 2010, the team completed the construction and initial flight test of the UAV.

During the first quarter of work, several different configurations were analyzed. The two most viable were a flying wing with embedded test sections and a conventional configuration with a vertically mounted test model. After considering manufacturing difficulties associated with the flying wing configuration, the traditional configuration was chosen.

During the construction phase of the project, two iterations were built. The first iteration was never flight tested but revealed some needed improvements. The considerable upgrades to the second iteration have developed a flyable UAV available for flight testing.

The final product has a flight weight of 20 pounds 5 ounces and reaches estimated speeds of 60 mph. The initial flight tests reached an endurance time of approximately 5 minutes. However, with an optimization of the power system the aircraft should achieve flight times of roughly 10 minutes.