Up in the Sky, it’s a Plane ... But on the Road, it’s a Car
CONCORD, Mass. - Terrafugia is one of only a few aeronautics companies in the world that has to design its aircraft to survive hitting a pothole at 40 mph. That’s because Terrafugia’s Transition® aircraft can convert into road-legal vehicle once on the ground, Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. announced today.
Terrafugia used SolidWorks® 3D CAD software to model the Transition and make the precise calculations needed to meet both aircraft and road vehicle safety and performance standards. As a double-duty vehicle, the Transition has to be light enough to get off the ground, yet sturdy enough to pass government regulations for crash safety. That meant reducing the amount of material wherever possible, which Terrafugia did by using SolidWorks Simulation to closely calculate the amount of material that could be reduced from key assemblies without compromising performance. Transition recently completed its first test flight at Plattsburgh International Airport in New York.
Samuel Schweighart, Vice President of Engineering and Co-Founder - Terrafugia said, “We put all our designs into SolidWorks, then used the finite element analysis features to determine how much material we could cut out of the design without compromising Transition’s integrity as a road vehicle. SolidWorks let us be very precise, which was important because every ounce counts in this design.”
“It’s interesting how much reality matches what’s in SolidWorks. All the little details we see on the screen end up in reality, so we can modify the design to eliminate whatever we don’t want in the finished product. If we were working with just physical prototypes, we’d end up sanding those unwanted details off the parts by hand,” he added.
Key points about Terrafugia’s Transition:
* The Transition is in a category of vehicles called roadable aircraft. Unlike novelty flying cars, which can be anything from a military hovercraft to a road car with wings grafted onto it, the Transition is first and foremost an aircraft. It is designed primarily for private pilots who fly to business and personal engagements and need a road vehicle for commuting to and from airports.
* In addition to its flight assemblies, the Transition has a full automotive suspension, crumple zones, and roll cages to meet safety standards for road vehicles. Its wings fold to the side with the push of a button in the cockpit.
* Terrafugia’s design team used SolidWorks to model the Transition’s major assemblies and ensure they would fit together properly before the company committed to physical construction. The machine shops that manufactured components for the aircraft also used SolidWorks 3D models to build the parts.
* Terrafugia relies on authorized SolidWorks reseller CADD Edge for ongoing software training, implementation, and support.
Christine Washburn, Vice President, Marketing - Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp said, “Terrafugia successfully created what science fiction writers have been describing for years. Because the Transition is essentially two products in one, there were twice as many engineering challenges. We applaud Terrafugia for overcoming those and putting such an exciting concept into action.”
Terrafugia (terra-FOO-gee-ah), based in Woburn, MA, is comprised of a team of award-winning engineers who have been advancing the state of personal aircraft since 2006. Founded by five pilots who are graduates of MIT and supported by a world-class network of advisors and private investors, Terrafugia’s mission is the innovative expansion of personal mobility. "Terrafugia" is Latin for "escape from land."
CADD Edge is the developer of the Mechanical Engineering Productivity Machine™. The CADD Edge Productivity Machine enables engineers to design imaginative products exceptionally fast with superior quality. Customized for industry-specific SolidWorks environments, this performance-driven machine is fueled by four components – auditing, implementation, multi-level training, and software utilities – all working together to help companies be first to deliver winning designs from concept to customer.
- Tire maker Michelin develops FEA post-processing tools using MeshViz XLM and Open Inventor® by VSG
- FARO and Autodesk Collaborate to Add Support for Point Cloud Data to AutoCAD 2011
- Delcam presented with sixth Queen's Award
- Spatial Announces Registration Open for 3D Insiders' Summit 2011
- MSC Software and Sigmadyne Announce New Capabilities for Optimization of Optical Systems
- Official Thinkdesign 2011 Beta version Entering into the Build Phase - Ready for Imminent Release
- Materialise Innovation Forum Major Success
- COMET robot machining consortium meets at Fraunhofer
- Autodesk Acquires T-Splines Modeling Technology Assets
- Two Indian SolidWorks resellers add Sescoi's WorkNC to their portfolio