Computational Models for the Analysis of Aircraft Structures

Viking Aerospace Ltd., a company providing engineering support services for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), is currently seeking approval of a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the DHC-3 Turboprop conversion kit. This conversion kit has provisions for a nose fuel tank. A separate STC is desired for the addition of this tank. In order to gain approval for the fuel tank STC, compliance must be shown to FAR 23 regulations. Of particular concern are the sections regulating the suitability of the aircraft structure to handle the additional flight loads due to the increased weight of the tank. A previous analysis has been performed on the turboprop conversion kit (without the additional fuel tank) but yielded safety margins too low to permit the addition of the fuel tank. It is suspected that simplifications and assumptions required by the previous analysis were overly conservative and that a more in-depth analysis would yield acceptable margins, even with the addition of the fuel tank. In order to more accurately analyze the complex structure, advanced Finite Element Methods (FEM) will be employed.

Ricardo Paiva
Faculty Supervisor: 
Dr. Afzal Suleman
British Columbia