The Penn state sailplane course

Götz Bramesfeld, Mark David Maughmer

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Since 1989, the Department of Aerospace Engineering of The Pennsylvania State University has offered a special undergraduate project course that has a strong emphasis on "hands on" design and fabrication. Specifically, a group of approximately twenty-five students, freshmen through seniors, is involved in the design and construction of high-performance sailplanes. Students can and are expected to enroll in this course for every semester during their undergraduate study. The basic course structure consists primarily of three components. The first, lecture, provides the student with the necessary theoretical background of modern sailplanes and their design requirements. The second component is concerned with design groups of four to six students, in which the students design and analyze sailplanes, such as their performance, structure, stability and control, and so forth. The third component is the fabrication of parts that have been designed and analyzed theoretically, such as the current project of a full-size, 50-foot wingspan sailplane made out of modern composite materials. To a large part, the learning experience can be related to the integrated nature of the design course, as well as to the interaction of undergraduate students at all levels of their program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12467-12477
Number of pages11
JournalASEE Annual Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002
Event2002 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Vive L'ingenieur - Montreal, Que., Canada
Duration: Jun 16 2002Jun 19 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)


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