Design of a solar powered unmanned airship

Sönmez, Onur Sinan
This thesis presents the design and analysis of a low altitude, high endurance Unmanned Airship which is capable of carrying payloads up to 70 kg to 1000 meters altitude. This UAV has an endurance of 2 weeks and can resist winds up to 90 km/h. It is completely solar powered and it uses Helium as the lifting gas and uses electric motors to change it’s location. The purpose of this thesis is to design an unmanned, completely solar powered airship to be used for various missions such as: reconnaissance missions, broadcasting, base transceiver station, forest fires, traffic control and coastal surveillance. Even there are various concepts and right hand rules about the design process of an airship, some of them have become obsolete with the improvements in material sciences and technological improvements. An empirical approach has been used as a base while making the necessary calculations. Although for the beginning of design process, some of those right hand rules have been used, in the detailed design process a deeper study has been made and the real values have been used. Even though, this type of an UAV is not a conventional approach; compared with the aerodynamic UAV’s and the other surveillance aircrafts this kind of configuration is a much cheaper (in terms of both the initial cost and the operating costs) and a much safer choice. The empirical approach gave the chance to review the design to meet the requirements even at the latest stages of design. For example after CFD analysis, the motors to be used have been changed to meet the thrust requirement.