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Unit of study_

AERO1400: Intro to Aircraft Construction and Design

Semester 2, 2021 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

The study towards BE(Aeronautical) involves learning about the Design, Analysis, Flight, and Operation of Aircraft and other Flight Platforms. This unit facilitates the training towards becoming professional aeronautical engineers through a globally-unique experiential-learning opportunity to provide a strong background familiarity with aircraft hardware. This unit is designed to educate and facilitate the learning of aircraft design, basic aircraft construction techniques, the operation of light aircraft and the registration and regulations relating to light aircraft. In addition to hands-on skills on the construction phase, this unit facilitates learning in motivations for unique aircraft design, aircraft aerodynamics, flight mechanics, structural aspects and other design-related issues. Teamwork plays a very important role in this unit; the ability to work with peers and supervising staff is an invaluable skill sought after by employers of engineers. Throughout the semester, students will be actively participating in the construction of a light aircraft, and of aircraft structural components. The aircraft is to be constructed under current Australian Civil Aviation Regulations so that students will gain an insight into all aspects of the process. By being a part of the construction team, students will also experience the organisational requirements necessary to successfully complete a complex engineering project. The aircraft construction workshop component is complemented with lectures, homework, research and assignments to further enhance the learning experience on aircraft. The final outcome will be that students gain a good foundation of: aircraft design and analyses methods; innovative methods of construction; techniques for selecting, sizing and stressing components; regulatory requirements for certification; off-design requirements; construction tolerances; and team-work requirements in undertaking complex engineering projects.

Unit details and rules

Unit code AERO1400
Academic unit Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge

Some basic skills with engineering workshop hand tools is desirable.

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator KC Wong,
Laboratory supervisor(s) Derrick Ho,
Lecturer(s) KC Wong,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Participation Workshop Participation and Engagement
Active Engagement with Experiential Learning Opportunities
15% Multiple weeks 3 hours per week throughout the semester
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO9 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4
Small test Online Knowledge Quizzes in class
Multiple Quizzes with MCQ, short answers, and worked solutions
30% Multiple weeks Multiple with <= 50 minutes each
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO8 LO7 LO6
Assignment Homework tasks
Building knowledge in support of developing learning outcomes
5% Multiple weeks Multiple tasks of varying duration each
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO6 LO7 LO9
Assignment hurdle task Log book progress
Regular checks on progress of practical tasks completed.
10% Multiple weeks >2 pages per week
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO5 LO8
Assignment AERO1400 Assignment 2
Intro to Aircraft Regulations & Construction Report+responses to questions
7% Week 06
Due date: 13 Sep 2021 at 12:00
5p Tech Report + responses to questions
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6 LO8
Assignment hurdle task AERO1400 Assignment 1a - interim report
Acceptable progress on Aircraft Geometry development & analysis task.
0% Week 08
Due date: 07 Oct 2021 at 23:59
2p+associated appendices
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO9 LO7 LO2
Assignment AERO1400 Assignment 3
Figure of Merit Evaluation of Aircraft - performance analysis
10% Week 11
Due date: 25 Oct 2021 at 12:00
Spreadsheet+7p report + appendices
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO5 LO7 LO9
Assignment Log book final
Provide a record of practical task completed.
10% Week 13 >2 pages per week
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO9 LO8 LO6 LO5 LO4
Assignment AERO1400 Assignment 1b
Products from Aircraft Geometry development, analysis, and fabrication.
13% Week 13
Due date: 11 Nov 2021 at 11:00
~5pReport+associated appendices+3D print
Outcomes assessed: LO7 LO9 LO5 LO2 LO1
hurdle task = hurdle task ?

Assessment summary

  • Workshop participation: Punctuality, engagement with, and completion of practical exercises will be assessed.
  • Project report – homework tasks: Brief discussions on given papers and/or references are required.
  • Log book: : Log books are updated after each practical session to sketch (freehand) and describe in detail all work undertaken. Schedule of compulsory (hurdle tasks) regular submissions described on Canvas, with final submission to include work for the whole semester.
  • Assignments: Students will complete practical assignments and submit various products for marking:
    • Assignment 1a & 1b: CAD geometry files, CFD analysis, 3D printed model and comments on the processes. Assignment 1a is an interim progress report on Aircraft Geometry development & analysis task is a compulsory hurdle task which feeds into final assessment of assignment.
    • Assignment 2: technical report on relevant aviation regulations.
    • Assignment 3: spreadsheet, sample hand calculation verifying the spreadsheet, and a technical report on aircraft design for flight performance.
  • Quizzes: Students will complete multiple in-class quizzes that test knowledge of elements of aircraft design and analysis covered in lectures and practical sessions. Schedules and details on Canvas.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Multiple weeks Background research, working on assignments and preparation for classes and assessments Independent study (85 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9
Week 01 Enhancing the aeronautical engineering learning experience Lecture (2 hr) LO1
Introduction to the aircraft construction project, workshop safety and facilities, and supervising staff Practical (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO8
Week 02 Enhancing the aeronautical engineering learning experience; introduction to aircraft design - design methodology Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO6 LO9
Aircraft construction Practical (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO8 LO9
Week 03 Introduction to aircraft design - design phases Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO6 LO9
Aircraft construction Practical (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO8 LO9
Week 04 Introduction to aircraft design - aerodynamic forces Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO7 LO9
Aircraft construction Practical (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO8 LO9
Week 05 Introduction to aircraft design - design information retrieval Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO6 LO7 LO9
Aircraft construction Practical (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO8 LO9
Week 06 Introduction to aircraft design - design to requirements Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO6 LO7 LO9
Aircraft construction Practical (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO8 LO9
Week 07 Introduction to aircraft design - configuration options Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO7 LO9
Aircraft construction Practical (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO8 LO9
Week 08 Introduction to aircraft design - case study Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO7
Aircraft construction Practical (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO8 LO9
Week 09 Introduction to aircraft design - design evaluations Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO6 LO7 LO9
Aircraft construction Practical (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO8 LO9
Week 10 Introduction to aircraft design - design technologies Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO7 LO9
Aircraft construction Practical (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO8 LO9
Week 11 Introduction to aircraft design - weight and balance Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO7
Aircraft construction Practical (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO8 LO9
Week 12 Introduction to Aircraft Design - Stability and Control Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO6 LO7
Aircraft Construction Practical (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO8 LO9
Week 13 Introduction to aircraft design - summary and design challenges Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO6 LO7 LO9
Conclusion of aircraft construction project Practical (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO8 LO9

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance: Students are required to attend and engage in all practical sessions; attendance and active participation will be noted. 

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. use information resources, including technical research papers, to understand the aircraft design process
  • LO2. create presentations for assignment submissions and to discuss and present information obtained via homework tasks
  • LO3. Familiarity of aircraft components - maintain a clear record of practical work completed through freehand sketches and descriptions in a logbook
  • LO4. work as a team member to complete the progressive assembly of an aircraft and components
  • LO5. Follow guidance to complete the given practical tasks on schedule
  • LO6. understand aviation regulations which promote the safe design, manufacture, and operation of aircraft
  • LO7. understand the concepts of aircraft configuration and its influence on flight performance
  • LO8. demonstrate familiarity with aircraft design and construction through hands-on construction experience of aircraft components.
  • LO9. use digital tools and resources to create, analyse, and fabricate aircraft design geometry

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Adapted to 13 week semester

Please check the following information sites regularly:

Work, health and safety

Personal protective equipment (PPE) for participating in learning activities in lab/workshop essential from Week 1.

NOTE: In 2021, Face Masks will be considered as part of essential PPE.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) includes:

  1. Hair restraints – If your long hair cannot otherwise be restrained you must wear a hair net, beret or cap worn backwards.
  2. Safety glasses conforming to Australian Standard AS1337
  3. Boots or shoes with an enclosed leather upper and steel toe caps to Australian Standard AS2210
  4. Dust coat (lab coat) with long trousers, or overalls:
  • Knitted woollen jumpers can become entangled in machines, as can lose or poorly-fitting clothing. Neither are suitable, even under your lab coat.
  • Jewellery such as rings, bracelets and necklaces must not be worn in workshops.
  • Short-legged pants and jeans with holes are not acceptable as trousers.


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