Icarus failed hand launch

Icarus successful catapult launch maiden flight

Icarus and Eos are two custom planes built by Cornell University Unmanned Air Systems (CUAir) from 2014 to 2015. 

I joined CUAir as a member of the airframe subteam as a freshman in September 2014 and have stayed on the team ever since. In 2015 I switched to the mechanical subteam.

My primary task for Icarus and Eos development was to design and fabricate the payload system for the planes. Besides that, I also worked on the manufacturing of the fuselage, airfoil, and empennage.

The payload system was designed to be easily manufacturable using rapid prototyping tools such as 3D printers and laser cutters. The final design was a weight-reduced system made from poplar plywood. The pictures below shows from the front to the back: the battery, flight computer, autopilot, and gimbal compartment. The space in the middle is left out for C.G. adjustment.

Icarus payload system isometric view

Icarus payload system top view

Icarus payload system drawing for laser cutting

The planes' wings, fuselage, and empennage are made with composite materials. For example, the wings are foam core sandwiched between two layers of fiber glass layups. The foam core is fabricated by hot wire cutting over laser-cut stencils. Then the layup process cures the fiber glass over the core with epoxy resins. The fuselage and empennage were manufactured in a similar fashion.

Getting ready for layup

Finished layup

After layup, the parts need to be post processed for assembly. Extensive sanding is needed to smoothen the surface of all parts, the wings in particular, to ensure their aerodynamics.

Finally all parts are assembled and painted.

Icarus and Eos

Eos with painting scheme done

Eos ready to fly

CUAir: https://cuair.org/

2014 - 2015