Current Research Projects

The following list gives an overview of current research projects in the three focus areas of the Institute for Aircraft Design:

A list of completed projects is provided here.


Research Area Scenario Analysis, Future Trends and Technologies


Within the BurnFAIR project, a sub-project of the German research project FAIR (Future Aircraft Research), possibilities of introducing sustainable, alternative fuels into civil aviation are being examined. These investigations are conducted with notable partners of the aerospace industry and science. At the heart of the BurnFAIR project, an Airbus A321 aircraft is continuously monitored during normal operations as one of its engines is powered with a new type of alternative fuel.
Further information is available here:

PartnersDeutsche Lufthansa AG, Bauhaus Luftfahrt, DLR u.a.
ContactDipl.-Ing. Niclas Randt

Research Area Aircraft Design

DemUEB Phase 3

DEMUEB phase III (project launch 2010) has been a three-year Bavarian research consortium led by Cassidian Air Systems and funded by the Bavarian Ministry of Economics, Infrastructure, Transport & Technology, with partners from industry and public institutes. The aim of the project has been to identify, develop and integrate necessary technologies/competencies for the use of UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) within civil applications. The main focuses were on data links, sensor fusion algorithms, image data compression, autonomy functionalities, air traffic insertion issues, as well as on the optical and acoustical footprint reduction. The Institute of Aircraft Design (Technical University of Munich) was in charge of workpackage 3910 “Overall Signature Reduction”, with emphases on novel propulsion concepts and investigations on more stealth UAV configuration solutions.

PartnerDiehl BGT Defence, DFS, DLR, Cassidian Air Systems, EADS Innovation Works, Eurocopter, EMT, ESG, IABG, LLS, FSD
ContactEmployeesDipl-Ing. Sebastian Speck

Blended Wing Body

The Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE) set ambitious goals for the aeronautic community to be reached by 2050. With the targets being high, only new aircraft concepts, incorporating advanced engine and material technologies will be able to meet this challenge. In this context, the ACFA 2020 (Active Control for Flexible Aircraft 2020) was initiated in 2008 as a collaborative research project for innovative aircraft concepts funded by the European Commission (FP7). The designed blended wing body (BWB) or hybrid wing body aircraft (see fig. 1) is the platform for further analysis at the Institute of Aircraft Design. The research focuses on the configuration design process and on increasing the maturity degree of systems. This includes the adaption of design methodologies to the special problem of high lift in the low speed phase. The disciplines of interest include aerodynamics, structure, flight mechanics, aircraft systems and overall aircraft performance. The research is greatly supported by software (CATIA V5, Matlab, etc.) and addresses innovative methods within the design approach. The resulting aircraft design process enables to discuss the integration of innovative systems and technologies in their interaction with the aircraft concept.

Model-based design of aerospace systems

A part of the research area aircraft design is the analysis of model-based techniques for the improvement of the design process efficiency.

The development of aircraft systems is characterized by a rising demand for higher functionality and quality which results in the demand for more efficient system development processes. The intrinsic complexity of aerospace products makes their development a coordinated effort of demanding activities of various specialists from different technical domains. The domain specific activities are today very well supported by dedicated tools that allow for efficient use of digital models and thus a reduction of time and cost compared to physical modeling. However, the enormous diversity of tools in current development processes creates a highly complex and heterogeneous software infrastructure that constrains the augmentation of process efficiency due to its immanent communication and coordination deficits.

Against this background this thesis discusses different approaches for the integration of heterogeneous software tools within the aerospace industry taking the product-, process- and organizational structures into account. The development and implementation of a system model, which is capable of capturing system life cycle data in a clear and common style, is identified as a possible solution and therefore further developed. The system model serves as a central data memory medium and allows for the exchange of data sets across domain boundaries as well as among software tools. Furthermore, the system model enables the creation of subject-specific views on the system structure as well as the parallelization and automation of development activities. In addition, this paper proposes the modeling of system requirements, functions and the organizational structure to enable an integrated development environment.


The project Sagitta, named after a stellar constellation, has been initiated by CASSIDIAN in 2011. A technology demonstrator with a low aspect ratio flying wing configuration is being developed by several institutes of the TUM, German research institutes and the industry in cooperation. The maiden flight of the demonstrator is planned for 2014. The institute of aircraft design (LLS) is responsible for the preliminary overall design, the propulsion system design and integration as well as for the demonstration of novel flight control technologies in flight.

Partners: Cassidian, TUM AER, TUM FSD, TUM LLB, UniBw, DLR

Research field: Flight control concept

The low aspect ratio flying wing design without vertical stabilizers raises considerable challenges for the flight control concept, which has to deliver the required control moments for the automatic stabilizing and maneuvering of the aircraft. For this task, a novel technology, fixed geometry flight control concept is being developed.

Research field: Thrust vectoring

For the active support of the flight control, thrust vectoring with fixed geometry nozzles is very interesting. Novel concepts of thrust vectoring are being reviewed with respect to their performance and integration aspects. The design as well as the practical implementation of a propulsion system with thrust vectoring on fixed geometry nozzles in a flying demonstrator is a primary task in the institute of aircraft design and the Sagitta project.

Performance Assessment of future hybrid-electric powered airliners

In the context of this research a transfer of hybrid- and electric propulsion architectures to future airliners is investigated. These technologies are already sporadically in use in today’s General Aviation segment. While maintaining aircraft performance, the aim is to improve overall efficiency as well as to considerably reduce the environmental impact in terms of noise and emissions. Application of this integrative aircraft design approach should contribute to secure future growth and sustainability of air transport.

Research Area Analysis & Evaluation of Aircraft Concepts

Airport Airside Capacity Studies

Development of a methodology to model the impact of aircraft parameters on the air traffic at airports with the aim to quantify the resulting airport capacity.

Research Area Analysis & Evaluation of Aircraft Concepts

Methods for operational evaluation of aircraft concepts (regarding capacity, noise, DOC,…) require input parameters that describe the evaluation environment, for instance the fleet mix. In the context of this research activity, representative evaluation environment parameters on a global level are derived for the current date (e.g. representative values of airport or airline-related parameters). In addition, scenario techniques will be used to study possible future developments of representative environment parameters.

Aircraft Noise Assessment - Evaluation of novel aircraft concepts

The evaluation of novel and quieter aircraft concepts comprises:

  • Preliminary aircraft design (e.g. integration of „Geared Turbofan“ or „Open Rotor“ engines into configurations)
  • Deduction/definition of noise models for novel aircraft concepts
  • Evaluation of novel aircraft taking into account the aircraft performance

The figure shows the process of evaluation on a “single aircraft level”

To evaluate the situation on „airport level“ or „global level“, the following aspects are additionally considered:

  • Air traffic growth
  • Temporal substitution by the new aircraft type
  • Noise impact development around the airport
  • Development of cost, e.g. noise surcharges, external cost
  • Deduction of the resulting benefits due to the novel aircraft