A simulation centre for flight physics was opened yesterday at the Braunschweig Research Airport in Germany. The €30m project is sponsored by Airbus, the German Aerospace Centre DLR and the State of Lower Saxony.
Besides wind tunnel and flight testing, numerical simulation is another effective method that can be used to develop commercial aircraft. Numerical computations, however, take a lot of computer power, and the more realistic a simulation is, the more computing power it requires.
Researchers at the new simulation centre will produce real-time simulations of aircraft in flight, calculating the aerodynamic loads occurring during flight, digitally determining flight performance and flight characteristics before the first flight, and helping to obtain a virtual certification before the production process is begun.
By changing from conventional tests to such computer simulations, Airbus will be able to take all the aerodynamic, aeroelastic, structural mechanics and flight control aspects of its aircraft into account. Designers will be able to let the aircraft “fly in the computer” in a nearly realistic manner even before the first flight so they can optimise the design at an early stage.
Major centres of expertise in numerical simulation are also being set-up in France (MOSART), England (CFMS), Spain (DOVRES).
The centre at the Braunschweig Research Airport will open in mid-2007, providing up to 30 highly-specialised jobs.