Aircraft design

The design of a series aircraft is based on that of a predecessor: a prototype or another series aircraft. This article describes a scientific case study of how a design team can design a series aircraft more efficiently.

Sector: Private

Industry: Aerospace

Domain: Aircraft

Aircraft design 1

Preparation

Situation

Organization. A team of designers is tasked to design a series aircraft. The team consists of senior designers and junior designers. When confronted with design issues, junior designers tend to slow down if no senior designers are looking over their shoulders or sparring with them.

Environmental factors. Competition with other aircraft manufacturers.

Issues. Less access to the knowledge of senior designers leads to more time and effort to resolve a design issue.

Ambition

Objective. Reduce the time needed to design a series aircraft.

Benefits. Shorter design lead times.

Analysis. Worth pursuing.

Assessment of aircraft design

Identify

Critical capabilities to reduce the time needed to design a series aircraft:

  • (Deliver a design service)
    • Design a new aircraft in an existing series [tacit].
    • Retrieve the design rationale of another aircraft in the same series [implicit].
    • Reuse the design rationale of another aircraft in the same series [implicit].
    • Revise the design rationale of aircraft [implicit].
    • Retain the design rationale of aircraft [implicit].

Compare

Contributions of critical capabilities:

  • Organizational strategy:
    • Design a new aircraft in an existing series.
    • Retrieve the design rationale of another aircraft in the same series.
    • Reuse the design rationale of another aircraft in the same series.
    • Revise the design rationale of aircraft.
    • Retain the design rationale of aircraft.

Appraise

Presence of critical capabilities in the design team:

  • Group presence:
    • Retrieve the design rationale of another aircraft in the same series.
    • Reuse the design rationale of another aircraft in the same series.
    • Revise the design rationale of aircraft.
    • Retain the design rationale of aircraft.
  • Organizational presence:
    • Design a new aircraft in an existing series.

Advice for aircraft design

Refine

Critical capabilities to increase their value or make them rare: none.

Unite

Refined capabilities to make them inimitable: none.

Secure

Unique capabilities in the organization of the design team:

  • System. Elicit and include as instructions in the standard operating procedure:
    • (Deliver a design service)
      • Retrieve the design rationale of another aircraft in the same series.
      • Reuse the design rationale of another aircraft in the same series.
      • Revise the design rationale of aircraft.
      • Retain the design rationale of aircraft.
  • Skills. Train junior designers in executing the standard operating procedure.

Background research

Frances Brazier, Pieter van Langen, and Jan Treur (1997). A compositional approach to modelling design rationale. AIEDAM 11, 125-139.