Systems/Labs 04


Prof. Charles Coleman

Learning Objectives

16.01-16.02 Systems and Labs (PDF)

Systems Problems

The assignments linked in this section, or “Systems Problems”, are assigned in addition to the weekly problem set. Systems problems emphasize the interdependence between disciplines, while problem sets usually focus on specific topics within a discipline. Systems problems are usually more open-ended than problem sets, and may be design-related (e.g., a trade study) or lab-related (e.g., a lab report). Because different methods may be applied to complete a systems problem, different solutions are acceptable. For some of the assignments, grading guidelines, or “Grading Sheets,” are provided instead of solutions.

Featured Videos of Aerial Competition

Additional Resources

Table Organization

16.01-16.02, Fall 2003

S/L1 Engineering Communications     Problem SP1-2 (PDF)
S/L2 Engineering Communications (cont.)     Problem SP1-2 (PDF)
S/L3 Glider Fly-Off      
S/L4 Water Rocket Lab 1: Water Bottle Rocket Performance Analysis (PDF) Design “Cheat Sheet” (PDF)   Problem SP4 (PDF)
S/L5 Water Rocket Lab 2: Concept Design, Concept Selection, Detailed Design (PDF)     Problem SP5 (PDF)
S/L6 Water Rocket Lab 3: Water Rocket Implementation and Operation     Problem SP6 (PDF)
S/L7 Fluids Lab: Wind Tunnel Pilot Measurements (PDF)   S/L7 Mud (PDF) Problem SP7 (PDF)
S/L9 Materials and Structures Lab 1: Truss Analysis and Testing Truss Code (ZIP) (The ZIP file contains:, generic_real_arrays.adb,, generic_real_arrays-operations.adb,, Sample_Truss_Input.txt, solve_my_truss.adb, truss.adb,, Truss_Input.txt.)   Problem SP9 (PDF)
S/L10 Materials and Structures Lab 2: Measuring Strain and Material Properties     Problem SP10 (PDF)

16.03-16.04, Spring 2004

S/L1 System Requirements and Teamwork (PDF) General FRDIARRC Table (PDF) (Courtesy of Prof. Alex Slocum. Used with permission.)

Sample FRDIARRC Table (PDF) (Courtesy of Prof. Alex Slocum. Used with permission.)

Notes on Memos (PDF) (Courtesy of Jennifer Lynn Craig. Used with permission.)

Teamwork Memo (PDF) (Courtesy of Jennifer Lynn Craig. Used with permission.)

  Problem SP1 (PDF)

Grading Sheet (PDF)

S/L2 Requirements, Teamwork, Competition (PDF) Miller, Alan C., and Kevin Sack. “Far From Battlefield, Marines Lose One-Third of Harrier Fleet,” Los Angeles Times, December 15, 2002.   Problem SP2 Part 1 (PDF)

Grading Sheet (PDF)

Problem SP2 Part 2 (PDF)

Grading Sheet (PDF)

S/L3 Fluids Lab: Wind Tunnel Testing of a 3-D Wing Airfoil Coordinate File (DAT)   Problem SP3 (PDF)
S/L4 Engineering Education and Baseline Assessment (PDF) Assignment Notes (PDF)

RC Design (PDF)

Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel Test (XLS)

Dragonfly Baseline Performance Assessment (PDF)

  Problem SP4 (PDF)

Grading Sheet (PDF)

S/L5 Materials and Structures Lab: Beam Analysis and Testing     Problem SP5 (PDF)
S/L6 Design 1: Wing and Tail     Problem SP6 (PDF)

Grading Sheet (PDF)

S/L8 Design 2: Propulsion, Payload, Operations     Problem SP8 (PDF)

Grading Sheet (PDF)

S/L9 Build Report 1 System Problem 9 Report 1 (PDF)

Report 1 Grading Sheet (PDF)

  Problem SP9-10 (PDF)
S/L10 Build Report 2 System Problem 10 Report 2 (PDF)

Report 2 Grading Sheet (PDF)

  Problem SP9-10 (PDF)
S/L11 Signals and Systems Lab: Amplitude Modulation     Problem SP11 (PDF)

Aerial Competition

During the spring semester, most systems problems relate to the semester’s aerial design competition. Teams of four or five students work together to design an aircraft to achieve the highest score. To optimize their system, each team must evaluate trades between payload, endurance, maneuverability and durability, subject to the constraints and objectives of the aerial competition.


Aerial Competition Rules (PDF)

Egg Information (PDF)


On competition day, each team was assigned a 15-minute flight window. Flight attempts during this period were scored by the graduate TAs. A selection of teams were interviewed, and their flight attempts filmed. The teams were interviewed pre-flight and post-flight. In the pre-flight interview, each team describes its aircraft design and its predicted performance. In the post-flight interview, the teams reflect on their performance in the competition and their experiences preparing as a team. Flight attempts which occurred between the pre-flight and post-flight interview were also filmed, with commentary by Prof. Coleman, the Systems and Labs instructor.

Additional Resources

Style Guide for Writing Reports (PDF)

Memos on Building the Dragonfly (PDF)