Clean Sheet Design: Designing New Aircraft Technology

Purpose of Clean Sheet Aircraft

When needs arise in a given marketplace, such as the aerospace industry, that need can often be fulfilled by modifying or tweaking an existing design, concept, or product. However, with the aerospace industry changing and advancing at a rapid pace, completely new needs—gaps in the marketplace—are appearing on a regular basis, needs that cannot be met with existing solutions. This calls for a completely new design, called a clean sheet design.

Clean sheet aircraft are the product of entirely new designs, driven by significant technology shifts or changing demands in the marketplace. These aircraft leverage completely new aircraft designs and concepts with no real predecessors in the market. Clean sheet aircraft can play a significant role in driving the aerospace industry forward and exploring the possibilities of flight.

Clean Sheet Engineering Process

Understanding Client Goals

The first step of the clean sheet engineering process is a conversation with the client. This conversation may serve as the moment when the client and the engineer determine that a clean sheet design is, in fact, necessary. Once the client’s needs and goals are understood, the engineer can determine whether an existing project will suffice or whether they need to start from scratch.

Innovation & Creative Thinking

The next step is to begin drafting a new design that meets the client’s needs. Clean sheet design relies on the same long-standing engineering principles as a modified design, but leverages them in new and innovative ways. This stage is defined by creative thinking.

Engineering Prototypes

Once the engineering team has a few solid ideas to work with, the next step is to test those clean sheet aircraft designs. This requires building physical prototypes that can undergo various tests and assessments, to validate the concept and determine whether it’s viable. Building a few different prototypes allows the engineering team to test multiple ideas before deciding which direction they want to explore, whether that’s choosing a single idea or combining the principles of two ideas into something totally different.

Quality & Safety Testing

Once a clean sheet design prototype has been tested for viability, it must be tested for safety and quality. While these two categories of testing are different, they overlap in many ways. Both quality and safety testing are designed to assess the longevity and functionality of a component or part and its ability to function as designed in a variety of applicable service conditions. This stage of the clean sheet design process is crucial to determining whether an idea is not only viable but feasible and practical in the real world.

Aerospace and Aircraft Engineering With NMG

NMG Aerospace is proud to support our clients’ dedication to innovation and creative thinking via clean sheet design of a wide range of aircraft and aerospace components. In collaboration with our clients, we have developed and manufactured clean sheet designs of:

  • Fluid system components, including many varieties of aerospace hoses, gauges, tanks, and reservoirs.
  • Safety system components, including gauges, pneumatic and motorized valves, solenoids, and brakes.
  • Landing gear components, including wheels, actuators, and braking components.


At NMG, we embrace the challenge and excitement of pursuing brand-new ideas via clean sheet design. Our team has years of hands-on experience supporting the design and manufacturing of aerospace components, and we can leverage that rich history to develop innovative new approaches in partnership with our clients.

Whether you’re in the early brainstorming stages of the aircraft design process or ready to begin testing a new idea, NMG is here to support you. Talk to a member of our team >