Princeton University Library Catalog

The Guardian: Unmanned Seaplane for Coastal Search and Rescue

Senior thesis
Martinelli, Luigi [Browse]
Nosenchuck, Daniel [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering [Browse]
Class year:
164 pages
Summary note:
The goal for this design project was to design, build, and test a seaplane unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the Guardian, based on a previous design project completed in MAE 332 – Aircraft Design. The original configuration design was scaled down to ease manufacturing and meet financial limitations. This report outlines the preliminary sizing of the aircraft through constraint analysis, the in-depth analysis of each component, including the fuselage, wing, V-tail, wing mount, sponsons and nacelle, and the design of the propulsion and controls systems. For the analyses of hydrodynamic and aerodynamic stability, we discuss static margin and pitch stability, as well as examine the trim limits associated with porpoising effects. A full structural analysis is completed using finite-element methods. Additionally, manufacturing and assembly methods are discussed in depth. Testing included a float test, water taxi test, and a flight test. Thus, this project seeks to develop an understanding of the tradeoff between hydrostatic, hydrodynamic, and aerodynamic performance for seaplanes. Such an understanding was necessary for the successful takeoff of the Guardian during the flight test, which verified our design and manufacturing methods. This project contributes to the development of composites manufacturing at Princeton University. The Guardian’s value lies in its potential application for coastal search and rescue to replace large, manned rescue missions that are costly, time-intensive, and place human life at risk.