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.
As 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
Looking back at my blogs this year, in February I talked about the ANSYS’ acquisition of the assets of NTI, Inc, which now enables us to offer the most comprehensive solution for integrated aerodynamic and icing simulations. The picture I shared was of a typical winter scene at a New Hampshire airport — the view of the de-icing process from inside an aircraft. Then in April, with Spring very much upon us, I talked about the upcoming event in Italy in partnership with CIRA. I am very pleased to report that this event went very well with over one hundred delegates and speakers from leading companies such as GE, Safran and Airbus. Thanks to all our speakers and to all who attended. So why do I think I may have missed the summer and the fall? Continue reading
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
The aircraft industry is an exciting place to be today. The media is full of the potential for commercial drone applications. But in the here and now we have large commercial aircraft on the market made from over 50% composite materials. These aircraft represent decades of innovation and will make a significant and positive impact on lifecycle cost of operation and the environment. You may recall that we recently shared a case study from Terrafugia where they discussed the integration of composite materials into the airframe of a car-come-aircraft. Along similar lines, EADS Innovation Works have shared details of their experiences with ANSYS composite material design tools. Continue reading
When I attended the AIAA SciTech Conference, I was impressed by a talk about electric aircraft, with a focus on distributed electric propulsion, presented by Mark Moore, a Design Engineer at NASA Langley Research Center. After returning from the conference, I started to read more about these concepts — especially looking for the benefits, challenges and most importantly to see how ANSYS simulation tools can help address the challenges.
Continuing from my post yesterday about the new frontier of embedded software.
Nowadays it is not enough to just fly the plane, pilots have to manage tons of information while flying and they are connected with other units on the battlefield through a network that allows real time co-ordination.
Have you seen the cockpit of a new generation aircraft? Google the F-22 or the F-35 and compare them with the one from an F-104; you will not recognize a single piece of equipment. Head to YouTube and enjoy a video showing the maneuverability of one of these modern airplanes. Amazing!
Today simulation is widely used, aerodynamics is now explored in detail so engineers can master all the phenomena that affect the flight even in extreme conditions, and new configurations allow these aircraft to challenge physics laws… and win!! I’ve seen a Eurofighter Typhoon during a test flight operate at 80 knots and at no more than 100 feet from the runway — almost still in the air — flying with an angle of attack of 60 degrees. This could have been considered science fiction by an F-104 pilot. I’m amazed by the maneuverability of the F-22 or what an SU37 can do. I’m always impressed and fascinated with how aircraft designers created these masterpieces of engineering. Continue reading
A few months ago at the ANSYS Worldwide Sales Conference, I had the opportunity to view the many advancements and get briefed on other news concerning our simulation platform. As part of this learning experience, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting our newest colleagues from Esterel Technologies and finding out how embedded software is becoming key in the development of a new generation of products. From aerospace to automotive and transportation, from medical devices to energy generation plants, it is an important piece of the Simulation-Driven Product Development vision. In a 2-part blog, I’ll explain what this means to me.
As I’ve mentioned before I’m quite fond of aircraft, so I’ll illustrate this point by talking about some very famous military planes, starting with the glorious Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. This incredible aircraft was designed in the early 1950’s by a myth among engineers — Kelly Johnson. His goal was to create a light, easy-to-maintain, simple and cost-effective airplane that would climb as fast as possible to operating height and engage in hostile contact with radar-guided missiles. Continue reading
Happy Friday, folks! This week’s roundup of interesting engineering technology news articles includes how to recruit more female engineers, the world’s first electric tilt-rotor aircraft and a case study that examines steam turbine blade simulation.
- Martha Kelly Girdler on How to Cultivate More Female Engineers and on Being Part of Etsy’s 500% Success Story
- ANSYS Aids Innovation With Its Simulation Software
- Human Organs On a Chip Could End Animal Testing
- Meet Project Zero, The World’s First Electric Tilt-Rotor Aircraft
- Steam Turbine Blade Reverse Engineering, Upgrade and Structural Design
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.
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