Aeronautical Group

Aerospace (Aeronautics and Space) Research and Development is a global business. The future challenges of air transport, such as climate change, limitation of energy resources, push the leading worldwide aviation  research institutions, such as the CSIR, NASA, TsAGI, ONERA, DLR, JAXA to consolidate the applied research. Applied Research will also be embedded more and more in teaching in order to prepare the future generation of aerospace graduates to work in the 21st Century Aerospace Industry.
The Aeronautical Group is predominantly involved in applied aerodynamics and alternative aircraft configurations. 
The CFD is currently focused on
  • Airframe propulsion integration
  • Design exploration and Optimization
The design application and engineering educational focus is currently on
  • Alternative aircraft configurations
  • Application to UAVs
The first post-graduate honours course in Aerospace Engineering in South Africa started in 2016. This Master has been defined with the Aerospace Industry in order to respond to the recent Research and Technology in the Aerospace world. 
The Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering Department at the University of Pretoria runs an alternative aircraft configuration project called Exulans. Participating in the exploration of alternative aircraft configurations, Dr Barbara Huyssen and Dr Joachim Huyssen are leading the exploration of the Gull‐Wing Configuration (GWC). The GWC could be applied to any typical aircraft design and it is therefore proposed as a candidate that may ultimately replace the Current Dominant Configuration.
Exulans I Exulans Radio Controlled model
Earlier work, involving radio‐controlled models and a full‐scale test glider, showed that the flying qualities of the GWC are comparable to those of the CDC. Stable flight can be achieved without empennage without compromising the spanwise lift distribution and without suffering from adverse yaw. Wind tunnel explorations showed that a fuselage trailing edge can be effective in manipulating the central circulation of a stable lifting
fuselage for the benefit of the spanwise downwash distribution.
The Aeronautical group welcomes academics and researchers in the broad field of Aerospace as visitors and collaborators. For more information contact Dr Barbara Huyssen the coordinator of Aeronautical activities.
Another project is a multi-national, multidisciplinary vertically-integrated engineering design project focused on developing modular drone solutions for wildlife protection applications. Dr Lelanie Smith, who is the leader and manager of the project called AREND, coordinates the design and collaboration activities between local and international Universities. She also works closely with the local industry where they offer meaningful exchange of knowledge and mentorship to students involved in the project.

The AREND project team




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