DLR Design Challenge 2022

  Team of DLR Challenge 2022 Copyright: © ILR Laura Babetto (ILR advisor), Dominik Kau, Robin Mörsch, Mucahit Fatih Evliyaoglu, Selim Karakus

The RWTH Aachen University’s student team supervised by the ILR was able to place third at this year's DLR Design Challenge, winning a spot on the podium for the third time in a row. This sixth edition of the DLR Challenge involves a sum of 33 students coming from five German universities: six teams took part in the challenge and a team combined from different universities participated for the first time ever.

Although most of the work was done digitally, this year the final event was held in a hybrid mode. This allowed the students to present their concept at the Center of Applied Aeronautical Research (Zentrum für Angewandte Luftfahrtforschung; ZAL) in Hamburg in front of the Jury composed by Markus Fischer - DLR Divisional Board Member for Aeronautics and Björn Nagel - Director of the DLR Institute of System Architectures in Aeronautics among many other DLR’s experts. Moreover, a tour for visiting the facility was also offered to the students and their supervisors.

The task this year was to develop a fleet of fire-fighting aircraft capable of delivering 11,000 litres of water to the fire site in one shot, optimising the amount of water carried to the fire scene within a 24-hour timeframe. The mission required to be performed at night and in the case of scarce visibility. The fleet’s size, the payload for each vehicle and he take-off and landing strategy were left as design variables for the students. In addition, other possible uses of the designed concept, the potential higher level of autonomy and the planned entry into service in 2030 made the development of a new vehicle much more demanding.

The four students from the RWTH Aachen University designed FireWasp.

FireWasp is a compound helicopter, which combines and enhances the high speed achievable by an aircraft configuration for high-emergency missions and the vertical take-off and landing capability of a rotorcraft to collect water from the most challenging water sites. As the entry into service by 2030 was a strict requirement, FireWasp carries a conventional propulsion plant supplied by SAF, ensuring feasible adoption of this technology over the next eight years. The fleet is highly autonomous in order to reduce the risk for a pilot and consists of seven vehicles: the main aircraft only carries out reconnaissance of the fire site, whereas the others are equipped to cope with the wildfire. All the vehicles are extremely reliable as redundancies of all types were part of the design drivers. Furthermore, modularity was also a key goal: FireWasp with its flexible design can easily be utilized for other purposes, such as agricultural, goods and/or passenger transport.

The final ranking was based on the completeness a technical report, a convincing video presentation, mastery of the topic and an effective pitch given in front of the committee and other teams. This year’s top and best award for the team supervised by the ILR is the opportunity to present the concept at the German Aerospace Congress in Dresden.

Join Mucahit Fatih Evliyaoglu, Selim Karakus, Dominik Kau and Robin Mörsch in the fight against wildfires by supporting FireWasp – an aggressive firefighter.