Mission-based Vehicle Design: Digital Mission Engineering for Advanced Air Mobility

Digital Mission Engineering

  • This class familiarizes users with the workflows of modeling and analyzing a UAV mission using digital mission engineering best practices.
  • All students will receive an AIAA Certificate of Completion at the end of the course

Advances in materials, electric propulsion, and control systems have greatly expanded the feasible design envelope, especially for small VTOL aircraft. These advances are beginning to make the dream of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) a reality. However, existing design approaches based on stable mission requirements and historical data for first order sizing cannot optimally address the combination of open aircraft design space with a new, unfamiliar mission space. Digital Mission Engineering (DME) facilitates the simultaneous development of operational concepts and aircraft design. We will explore how DME can be used to improve the design process and lead to better operational and aircraft design than available with existing legacy design tools and approaches, and help crack the code on UAM.

Though Ansys Digital Mission Engineering (DME) software products will be used in the course to illustrate example models, the course content will cover generalized principles and be applicable to all, regardless of one's digital engineering tool of choice.

  • Create a scenario using DME
  • Understand mission interference and communications
    • Understand the importance of mission design for new technologies
    • See how an integrated mission environment informs aircraft design iteration
    • Use a mission model to identify and resolve AAM operations management issues
    • Use integrated mission and design tools to inform multi-aspect design optimization

AUDIENCE: Aerodynamics Engineers, Aerospace Engineers, Antenna Design Engineers, UAV Operators, System Engineers, and Thermal Engineers.

Type of Course: Instructor-Led Short Course
Course Level: Fundamentals - Intermediate
Course Length: 1 day
AIAA CEU's available: Yes

This course is also available on-demand. Register here.


Part 1: DME Fundamentals: Exploring mission concept

  • Understand complexities of AAM operational environment
  • Explore different operational concepts and implications
  • Perform basic system assessment for differing operational concepts
  • Develop and iterate on system of systems requirements

Part 2: DME for Trajectory Development: Iterating aircraft design

  • Review how operational design and aircraft design influence each other
  • Discuss complexities of aircraft design in context of variable mission design
  • Demonstrate benefit of rapid iteration between aircraft characteristics and mission impact

Part 3: DME and Operations Research: Making AAM safe and efficient

  • Visualize how AAM will dramatically alter existing airspace management
  • Determine control systems and operations management needs
  • Explore potential applications of mission modelling for operations research

Part 4: DME and Understanding Trade Space: Assessing the full problem

  • Discuss mission-centered multi-domain optimization
  • Assess importance of tool integration and different options
  • Demonstrate automated trade space study and benefits
  • Introduce test and evaluation challenges and mission engineering applications

Robert Etter is a product manager at Ansys Government Initiatives (AGI). Since joining in 2021, he has been responsible for Air Systems and Test and Evaluation capabilities at AGI. His current activities are focused on determining new capability priorities and applications of Digital Mission Engineering. Prior to AGI, Robert was a P-3 Orion Tactical Coordinator, and in the Navy Reserves helped guide Office of Naval Research efforts in hypersonic flight research. Robert has a BS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Illinois, an MS in Aeronautical Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology, and an MBA from the University of California-Berkeley. 

Jesse Schlosser joined Ansys Government Initiatives (AGI) as a Technical Support Engineer in April of 2023. As a support engineer, Jesse supports the entire DME portfolio, with a focused expertise on the air side of AGI DME products. She graduated from Widener University in 2023 with a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering.


AIAA Training Links