Up in the Sky, it’s a Plane...But on the Road, it’s a Car
Terrafugia Uses SolidWorks 3D CAD Software to Design an Aircraft That Converts to a Car for Instant Ground Transportation
CONCORD, Mass., USA, March 18, 2009 – 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. To watch a video of the flight, please click here.
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.
“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.”
Vice President of Engineering and Co-Founder
“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.”
Vice President, Marketing
Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp.
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."
For more information, visit http://www.terrafugia.com/.
About CADD Edge
CADD Edge provides a complete line of engineering business solutions to leading manufacturing companies throughout New England and the Mid-Atlantic. Well versed in the engineering process, we offer leading software, staffing and service solutions for CAD, Enterprise Data Management, Product Lifecycle Management, Reverse Engineering and Rapid Prototyping. For more information on CADD Edge, please contact the company at (508) 475.2900 or visit http://www.caddedge.com/.
About Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp.
Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp., a Dassault Systèmes S.A. subsidiary, is a world leader in 3D solutions that help millions of engineers and designers succeed through innovation. Our products deliver an intuitive experience in product design, simulation, publishing, data management, and environmental impact assessment. For the latest news, information, or an online demonstration, visit our Web site (www.solidworks.com) or call 1-800-693-9000 (outside of North America, call +1-978-371-5000).
About Dassault Systèmes
As a world leader in 3D and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions, Dassault Systèmes brings value to more than 100,000 customers in 80 countries. A pioneer in the 3D software market since 1981, Dassault Systèmes develops and markets PLM application software and services that support industrial processes and provide a 3D vision of the entire lifecycle of products from conception to maintenance to recycling. The Dassault Systèmes portfolio consists of CATIA for designing the virtual product – SolidWorks for 3D mechanical design – DELMIA for virtual production – SIMULIA for virtual testing – ENOVIA for global collaborative lifecycle management, and 3DVIA for online 3D lifelike experiences. Dassault Systèmes’ shares are listed on Euronext Paris (#13065, DSY.PA). For more information, visit http://www.3ds.com/.
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