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Akademische Fliegergruppe Karlsruhe aviation group project

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Akademische Fliegergruppe Karlsruhe aviation group project

Students research the flight mechanics of flying wings
Around four years have now passed since the Akademische Fliegergruppe am Karlsruher
Institut für Technologie e.V., an academic group at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology with a focus on aviation, began developing the AK-X flying wing prototype.
Through the project, the group intends to research the flight mechanics of flying wings.
The results, it is hoped, will make it possible to create a design that demonstrates smooth flying characteristics, with the ultimate aim of delivering excellent performance in the skies. In designing the prototype, the group has recognised the importance of practicality too: the landing gear, for instance, has to be robust so that the flying wing is able to emerge from even bumpy landings unscathed. The work has therefore resulted in the design and engineering of the AK-X landing gear as part of a bachelor's thesis, a process which involved integrating both the nose and main landing gear into a 3D CAD model and providing the necessary evidence that the structure would house the requisite strength.
One important requirement was that the design would include the large ground clearance a flying wing requires on account of its significant positive sweepback. When selecting the concept, the group therefore settled on a main landing gear featuring a double drag strut locked over centre, which would enable a long lowering distance. Evidence of the main landing gear's strength was provided by means of FEM calculations, a more effective method than analytical processes for taking account of the system's statically overdetermined nature. The nose landing gear design has to be steerable so that low-flying pilots are able to correct their line in the event that they are starting behind a towplane, for instance.
These requirements have resulted in a design that includes a steerable fork: with the aid of a rotatable steering head, this can be retracted by means of single drag struts. To take into account high dynamic loads and hard landing impacts, evidence precluding sustained malfunctions and forced rupture was also provided for the critical components of the nose landing gear.

For more information (in German), visit:

norelem in the project:

The suspension and some of the joints in the landing gear were created using rod ends and clevis joints from norelem. These demonstrate a high load capacity and are easily adjustable for landing gear installation purposes.

»27629-06 Rod end, right

»27629-061 Rod end, left

»27622-0612 Clevis joint

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