This semester the senior design team, Aeris Industries, in Dr. Jeff Ashworth’s class was hard at work designing a new airlift vehicle for the military. This concept was unique, as the parameters for design were not given from a competition, but rather from a memo issued by the military requesting information on aircraft designs that can surpass the present capabilities of the nation’s airlift vehicles.

Aeris Industries named their plane the Magnavis, Latin for “big bird,” and it is an impressive airplane. Modeled after present planes like the C-130 and Boeing 737, the Magnavis is designed to carry up to 42 tons of equipment, ranging anywhere from troops to supplies to medium weight vehicles. Instead of being propeller-driven like the C-130, the Magnavis boasts next generation turbofan jet engines, which allow it to fly at Mach 0.70 while fully loaded.

In addition to flying faster than current airlift vehicles, the Magnavis also has improved takeoff and landing capabilities. It is designed to take off and land on surfaces described as austere, improvised, unimproved, and complex landing areas. This means that the Magnavis should be able to land on a surface whether it is paved or not paved, level or uneven.  Also, the Magnavis has Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL) capabilities. When fully loaded, it should be able to take off or land within 1,500 to 3,000 feet.

The crew of the Magnavis will consist of two pilots and two loadmasters. Piloting the aircraft should be relatively easy because the cockpit resembles that of a C-130. It is so similar, that pilots should be able to cross-train from one aircraft to the other.

The overall price of the aircraft runs about 77 million dollars a plane, but since the aircraft shares similar parts with other aircraft, repairs and maintenance should be much cheaper.


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