Human Powered Aircraft

Human Powered Aircraft


Picture1Human Powered Aircraft (HPA) are experimental aerial vehicles that rely solely on the power which is generated by the pilot. So far, there have been many successful designs with the most notable being the Daedalus by MIT and the Gossamer Albatross by AeroVironment. An additional motivation for the design teams to reach higher standards are the Kremer prizes which are monetary awards administered by the Royal Aeronautical Society.


Picture5The conceptual design of the aircraft began in March 2014 at Linköping University by a group of students together with the support of academics and experts from the aeronautics field. The innovative design will be the first HPA in Scandinavia and one of the very few in the world without a tail. This configuration will combine the stability characteristics of a delta wing hang glider and the semi-rigid wing of a conventional HPA.


rabitAn EXCEL calculation model was initially created in order to increase the iteration efficiency of the computations. The model is able to perform a detailed geometrical sizing and to predict properties such as the structural strength, the weight and the aerodynamic performance. Dassault Systemes CATIA was used to create the CAD geometry. The design was developed by using Design Automation features such as parameters and rules which allow the reuse of the basic geometry and give faster iteration time. A simple EXCEL file which uses Visual Basic scripting acts as a link between the sizing tool and the CAD software. This allows the user to optimize the design locally and then generate the respective geometry in an automatic fashion. Extraction of variables from the CAD geometry such as mass and inertia for further flight mechanics calculations is also possible


Picture7A 12% scaled and remotely piloted demonstrator without propulsion system was built to investigate stability and control issues. A second remotely piloted demonstrator, dynamically scaled at 24% and with electric propulsion system is currently under construction. Full-scale test rigs have been built in order to test  different parts, such as the power transmission mechanism and the preliminary propeller design.


correnOver the span of its short life, the HPA project has received a lot of attention by the administration of Linköping University and its student body. It has often become the center of attention in social media pages of students and faculty but it has also appeared in the local media. In particular, the Swedish newspaper Corren published an article on our endeavor on the 17th of December 2014. The article and a short video which was broadcasted on the internet channel of the newspaper can be found in the following link.


Picture9Our initial design and development group consists of engineering students, most  enrolled  in  the  M.Sc.  Aeronautical Engineering program of Linköping University where the project finds its roots. Together with university professors, industry professionals, the collaboration of Linköping’s University Flight Association LuFF and supported by our sponsors, we will lift this project off and prepare the runway for new future challenges. If you feel that you are interested in participating actively in this project and that you can contribute in the engineering or the administration and management department, then do not hesitate to contact us at or via our facebook page.