What We Can Learn from the Wright Brothers on National Aviation Day

Tomorrow is Orville Wright’s birthday and we celebrate National Aviation Day and the incredible progress made in aviation in just over 100 years. It was December 1903 when Orville became the first pilot of an engine powered aircraft, staying aloft for 12 seconds and covering a distance of 120 ft. at 20 ft AGL. Five years later he was able to stay aloft for an entire hour, reaching an altitude of 350 ft.

Indeed, the Wright brothers are a great example for all those who want to innovate. Many pioneers lost their lives or were badly injured in their attempt to demonstrate their ideas, test new concepts and to tame phenomena they were still not able, sometimes very far, to understand and master. Continue reading

The Engineering Behind Why It’s Too Hot to Fly

I’ve read a lot of articles talking about an interesting fact: this summer was so hot that in some cities like Phoenix aircraft could not fly. If you are an engineer or a pilot, it should not be a surprise that in hot weather an aircraft’s performance can deteriorate until the point it is unsafe to attempt take off. But maybe you have not considered all the possible causes of why it’s too hot to fly. I will try to explain things in a very basic and simplified way, for the benefit of those who are not familiar with these phenomena.

American Airlines canceled dozens of flights out of Phoenix on June 19 due to extreme heat. (AP Photo/Matt York)

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Earth-to-Space Delivery Services℠ Faster and Affordable with ANSYS Simulation

earth to space delivery systemsThe rapid surge in consumer demand for mobility, connectivity and content has fundamentally changed the space industry. Space, as the ultimate vantage point, is a necessary destination to connect 55 percent of the world that does not have access to the internet. With miniaturization of technologies, capabilities that until now required large satellites the size of a bus with a billion-dollar price tag are being challenged by small satellites that are 12 inches long and weigh only 9 pounds. When constellations of 24 to 800 of these small satellites are established in low Earth orbit, the world will enjoy global WiFi, maritime connectivity, real-time navigation maps, precise weather forecasts, virtual reality in space and more. Continue reading

Additive Manufacturing, Topology Optimization and 3-D Printing

Additive manufacturing (AM), topology optimization and 3-D printing have produced some remarkable changes in the manufacturing sector, enabling companies to make parts whose geometries would have been all but impossible using traditional techniques. Still, being a relatively young technology, AM faces some challenges before it can enjoy more widespread use.

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From Drones to Connected Cars – Code Generation for Safety-Critical Embedded Software

DLR-image007Developing an Internet of Things (IoT) enabled product is a complicated task, whether it’s an autonomous vehicle, a vehicle user interface like a car infotainment system, or a connected factory. IoT-enabled products contain hundreds, if not millions, of lines of embedded software code. And many of these products — and the systems and software that control them — are mission- or safety-critical. Therefore, developers must have confidence that the software code controlling these devices is 100% accurate and responds in the intended manner. Continue reading

Avionics System Engineering: A Complex Problem Demands an Advanced Solution

avionics system engineering cockpitAs one of today’s avionics system engineers, you have a difficult task —  integrating a diverse range of functionally complex components, provided by multiple suppliers, into a system that is reliable enough  to ensure consistent aircraft performance and passenger safety. You also need to understand and meet numerous regulatory operating systems and protocols, including ARINC 653, ARINC 429, CAN and ARINC 664. Continue reading

DO-178C – Aeronautics Industry Moves To New International Software Safety Regulation

Embedded software in today’s aircraft is becoming continually larger and more complex. For example, the volume of embedded software in the A300 was a few thousand lines and it is in the order of 100 million in the A380. Moreover, a sizeable part of this software is safety critical. Hence, delivering certified code is one of the critical path design elements that is growing in significance. Continue reading

Collaborating to Reduce Gas Turbine Fuel Burn

The pressure is on to reduce fuel burn for gas turbines of all types. The need is particularly acute for aircraft engines, in that fuel is a large component of operating costs of an airline, so much so that even the volatility in its price can mean the difference between profit and loss. So when airlines demand more fuel efficient aircraft, much of that requirement is passed along to the engine manufacturers. While reducing gas turbine fuel burn is a primary driver, carbon emissions are related, so reducing the fuel burn “kills two birds with one stone”. Continue reading

Simulation for Aerospace

image of CFD studyThe first issue of the ANSYS Advantage magazine for 2013 is now available for your reading pleasure… and it focuses on the aerospace industry. Our subject is especially timely, since the aerospace industry is poised to kick off another record year: OEMs (including Boeing and Airbus) as well as the supply chain (such as GE Aviation and Pratt & Whitney)  have record backlogs of orders. I’m proud to be involved in putting this magazine together. The publication involves a huge effort from our customers and our staff, so I congratulate and thank them for an excellent job. Continue reading

Simulation for Military Aircraft Ejection Seats

I’ve always been passionate about aircraft. When I served in the Air Force and took my pilot training, I learned a lot about how systems on military planes work. One of the most amazing components, to me, was the ejection seat, probably one of the most complex pieces of equipment on board.

image of parachute system

Drogue parachute system analysis with inset submodel of the critical area using nonlinear material properties. Courtesy CTC.

Even if the purpose of the seat is clear and simple — to provide the pilot a safe and immediate way out of the aircraft in case of accident — its job is a very tough one. The seat has to work in emergency conditions; it represents the last chance for a pilot to leave a severely damaged aircraft, maybe spiraling out of control. This system must be designed not to  fail despite the critical, varied and unpredictable conditions in which it will be used. That’s quite a challenge for designers! Let me give you an example. Continue reading