The design process of aircrafts is divided into three phases:
- Conceptual Design. It involves the sketching of various configurations, both of the cargo, wings and engines, in accordance with the brief requirements. On each design proposed, the designers have to implement additional factors, such as propulsion, aerodynamics, flight performance, control systems and structure. The shape of the fuselage, the wing type and configuration, the size and power of the engine or engines are all part of the design optimisation phase. The elected version is configured on paper at first, thereafter being constructed on the computers, and revised by many specialists, including designers and engineers.
The wings are some of the most important elements in an aircraft, because they provide take off, landing and directions adjustments. There are a few wing designs which can be combined in order to achieve unique designs. They can be mounted low, high or at middle position on the fuselage, the can have different section profiles or cross section shapes.
- Preliminary Design Phase. This is the fine tuning step dedicated to develop and improve the chosen concept. The product of this phase has to fit all the imposed parameters, both of the brief and the international regulations. Wind tunnel testing and fluid dynamics calculations and simulations are being applied on the aircraft. It is the phase in which aerodynamics flaws are being corrected and improved. It is very common that in this phase the manufacturer might develop several designs, to fit different needs (cargo or passengers). Usually at this phase, many design models are being put off to production because they are not economically optimised for production.
- Detail Design Phase. This is the one to one scale fabrication phase. It deals with the structural elements, spars, locations of seats, and it builds up directly in the aerodynamics and performance specifications developed in the preliminary phases. After one prototype is being built, flight simulations take place.