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Wed, Jan 13, 2010

Terrafugia Uses Dassault Systèmes To Help Create Street-Legal Airplane

Second Prototype Will See Refinements In Wing Design And Materials

Dassault Systèmes' CATIA has been chosen by Terrafugia, creators of the Transition Roadable Aircraft, for 3D composite and finite-element modeling, the company said Monday. Terrafugia will use CATIA Analysis and CATIA Composites Design (CPD) solutions to design and develop its beta prototype, with delivery expected in 2011.

After Terrafugia completed a successful Proof of Concept for the first version of its Transition Roadable Aircraft in early June, the design team began planning the second vehicle. Having spent several years developing the initial Transition prototype, Terrafugia identified multiple ways in which they wanted to adjust the original design, including experimenting with alternate materials and sizing for the wings. In order to analyze the way different materials would bend or move under various conditions, the company required a solution with advanced 3D composite ply-modeling, dedicated part-modeling and material behavior simulation capabilities.

Impressed by its success with Dassault Systèmes’ SolidWorks 3D design suite, which it began using in March 2009, Terrafugia adopted CATIA Analysis and CATIA CPD as composite-focused complements to its existing SolidWorks infrastructure. According to Ben Zelnick, engineer at Terrafugia “CATIA is a great complement to our SolidWorks solution. Being able to have a full digital model of a ply-by-ply layout will allow us to conduct accurate structural analyses, which is invaluable in reducing the weight of the Transition. In fact, we recently correlated an analysis of a CATIA model of a portion of the structure closely to a sample tested in our facility.”

Jacques Leveillé-Nizerolle, CEO, CATIA, Dassault Systèmes added “We are pleased that DS SolidWorks’ design-centric customers can now benefit from CATIA’s leading composites virtual design and analysis applications to successfully meet their composites needs. This will complement CATIA’s full PLM strategy which is based on delivering a complete end-to-end PLM composites solution on a single platform, from design to simulation and manufacturing.”

For the upcoming second prototype, Terrafugia’s design team is using CATIA Analysis to create preliminary design simulations rapidly, easily and within a familiar CAD environment. The solution allows the team to optimize its designs based on product performance specifications and to quickly make updates after real-world testing. The company is also using CATIA CPD to build and test reinforcement spars on the prototype’s structural panels. Terrafugia says CATIA CPD gives it the ability to verify whether it can feasibly produce what is designed and the ability to perform simulation directly in the same environment.

The Transition Roadable Aircraft can cruise up to 450 miles at 115+ mph, take off and land at local airports, drive at highway speeds on any road and fit in a normal suburban garage space. The two-seat vehicle has front wheel drive on the road and a propeller for flight, transforming from plane to car in thirty seconds. Both modes are powered by unleaded automobile gasoline. By giving pilots a convenient ground transportation option, the Transition reduces the cost, inconvenience and weather sensitivity of personal aviation.

FMI: www.3ds.com, www.terrafugia.com

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