Logo: University of Southern California

AME Undergrad's Light Sport Plane Concept Wins AIAA Honors

'Phoenix Flyer' has anti-stall propeller for safety in the air and detachable wings for economy on the ground

August 28, 2008 — Sina Golshany, an undergraduate  in the Viterbi School’s Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, has become the first AME student to place in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Aircraft Design Competition.
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Sina Golshany with his award.

AIAA’s national student aircraft design competition, now in its third decade, is designed to stimulate upcoming engineers for innovative solutions to current challenges faced by aerospace designers.  In 2006-07, AIAA challenged students to design a light sport aircraft, given a rigorous series of requirements and design objectives. Golshany’s design proposal won third place, thus opening a new future in USC’s pursuit of excellence. 

Golshany designed a single engine aircraft, the Phoenix Flyer, which is capable of changing its propeller disk inclination, greatly improving the post-stall behavior of such an aircraft and thus increasing its safety.  Since this type of aircraft is specifically designed to compete in a market with an average price of $85,000, Golshany made the wings detachable using a lug system, saving the owner from the expense and necessity of storage in a hanger, and allows the transportation of the aircraft on a trailer very similar to a recreational boat.
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A view of Golshany's Phoenix Flyer.
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A cutaway of the next generation Very Light Jet entered in '07-'08 competition.

“This greatly reduces the accommodation cost for the owners, allowing it to be affordable for a wider range of consumers,” Golshany said.  “Coupled with the rotary engine mount, which improves the safety of the aircraft, Phoenix Flyer presents a concept that far exceeds the current expectations for operational cost and flight safety in the category of light sport aircrafts.”

AME Professor Ron Blackwelder  was one of Golshany’s advisors on the design project. He and other AME faculty have been avid supporters of student projects in the Viterbi School of Engineering and welcome this new area of endeavor.

“This project expands our student participation into new
project areas and provides a greater opportunity for our students to become involved,” he said.  “We are proud that Sina received third place in his first attempt and look forward to future participation in this and similar design projects.”