Group 2 – FIREFLY

Team Members

Michaela Baughn, Shameer Boursiquot, Dylan Carter, Salvatore Como, Julian Davis, Patrick Hess, Hiroyuki Matsumura, Annabeth Smith


The primary objective of the FireFly design group was to design a conceptual aircraft that occupies the unfilled zone of the world’s aerial firefighting arsenal. The Firefly FF-1853 has a payload capacity of 6,000 gallons of fire retardant, allowing it to make two separate drops of 3,000 gallons each which prevents wasting time to refill its payload while avoiding the operating costs of a large fire bomber. It is powered by four Europrop TP400 engines that have been modified to deliver 14,850 horsepower each and can propel the aircraft to a dash speed of 400 knots, while the turboprop engines have enough fuel efficiency to propel the aircraft to a maximum range of 4000 nautical miles without refueling. The high mounted main wings, with a wingspan of 196 ft, were designed based on the NACA 23018 airfoil. This profile accommodates a deep, rigid wing box for strenuous maneuvering, generates high lift for low-speed performance, and exhibits sufficient aerodynamic efficiency to mitigate the drag accompanying that lift. A conventional tail configuration minimized the weight of the tail while providing adequate stability and control for the aircraft during the mission. The horizontal tail has a tail span of 55.95 ft, mean chord of 18.65 ft, tip chord of 13.99 ft, root chord of 23.31 ft, and thickness ratio of 8%. The vertical tail has a tail span of 19.49 ft, mean chord of 14.99 ft, tip chord of 11.24 ft, root chord of 18.74 ft, and thickness ratio of 18%. The sweep angles for the horizontal and vertical tails are 5- and 20-degrees, respectively. Aircraft grade aluminum was the most suitable material for the semi-monocoque structure of the airframe with reinforced fiber glass in specific non-loaded parts of the aircraft. With a max takeoff weight of approximately 297,000 pounds the aircraft can travel a max range of 3,979 nautical miles and still be able to land on major civil airports. The total cost associated from research and development to the first production model flight is forecasted to be $9.7 billion, with a maintenance cost of $645 per flight cycle.

Group Poster