Software could enable changes early in aircraft design process

New design software for aircraft could allow engineers to see the impact of changes, in terms of risk and load characteristics, early on in the design process.

Developed by Frazer-Nash, Airbus and EADS, the tool is able to rule in or rule out configurations in real time with a certain confidence level.  

In traditional aircraft design optimisation, engineers have typically had to analyse large amounts of data, such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD) results, in order to make decisions. Also, as a design evolves, it naturally becomes more constrained, reducing the opportunity to make changes.

The new tool, called Management of Uncertainties Loads Evaluation, could be particularly useful for weight-reducing redesigns.

Indeed, it assisted in the development of landing gear for the forthcoming Airbus A350 XWB airliner. It was used to make tweaks to elements of the design — such as damping and braking characteristics — to see how these affected the overall integrity of the component.