Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2017.


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Mohammad Ayoubi


This project focuses on the design of a hybrid vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft that, by using separate propulsion systems, transitions from a quadcopter into horizontal flight. It was designed for use in search and rescue (SAR) missions in national parks due to their high costs, long search times, and the volume of these missions. The aircraft can be easily deployed in less than a couple minutes reducing search time, costs only $2000 saving SAR teams money, and allows for camera integration for hiker location. The aircraft used a pre-built airframe with added modifications, and a specifically designed avionic system to have vertical and horizontal flight capabilities. The propulsion system was tested individually in the vertical and horizontal flight modes. The quadcopter system ran in an altitude hold mode for approximately 8 minutes while the forward flight system ran for over triple that, approximately 25 minutes. This proved our VTOL aircraft’s main objective of increased fixed-wing flight efficiency. The modified airframe structure was proved not to fail under vibrational and static loading using FEA. The total weight of the aircraft is 1.9 kg, meaning we need approximately 18.6 N to fly. By performing CFD analysis on the aircraft, at a speed of 15 m/s, it was found that 28.5 N of lift were produced, allowing for successful horizontal flight.