Modeling Flight (NASA, 2009) (Size: 7.01 MB)
The state of the art in aeronautical engineering has been continually accelerated by the development of advanced analysis and design tools. Used in the early design stages for aircraft and spacecraft, these methods have provided a fundamental understanding of physical phenomena and enabled designers to predict and analyze critical characteristics of new vehicles, including the capability to control or modify unsatisfactory behavior. For example, the relatively recent emergence and routine use of extremely powerful digital computer hardware and software has had a major impact on design capabilities and procedures. Sophisticated new airflow measurement and visualization systems permit the analyst to conduct micro- and macro-studies of properties within flow fields on and off the surfaces of models in advanced wind tunnels. Trade studies of the most efficient geometrical shapes for aircraft can be conducted with blazing speed within a broad scope of integrated technical disciplines, and the use of sophisticated piloted simulators in the vehicle development process permits the most important segment of operations—the human pilot—to make early assessments of the acceptability of the vehicle for its intended mission. Knowledgeable applications of these tools of the trade dramatically reduce risk and redesign, and increase the marketability and safety of new aerospace vehicles.