HAMPTON, Va., 9 Dec. 2015. Engineers at Bell Helicopter and Spirit AeroSystems collaborated for the first time, culminating in the completion of the Bell V-280 tiltrotor fuselage ahead of schedule and within budget. In the process, engineers at Spirit used HyperSizer sizing and analysis software from Collier Research to prove out the structural integrity of the V-280.
On the V-280 fuselage prototype program, Spirit AeroSystems engineers employed HyperSizer for detailed sizing of the fuselage. Important structural requirements include: strength, stability, stiffness, and deflection/rotation limitations for severe flight, landing, and ground load cases.
Collier Research's HyperSizer software is used for certification analysis of composite and metallic airframe structures, such as this airplane fuselage. For metals, the detailed stiffener dimensions (shown in the insert) are included for stress reports. (Photo: Business Wire)
The unit was designed and assembled in Spirit’s rapid prototyping facility in Wichita, Kan., in just 22 months. The composite fuselage was shipped to Bell Helicopter’s facility in Amarillo, Texas for final assembly, and the build continues towards a first flight in the in the second half of 2017.
“The design-analysis cycle for a typical aircraft program requires many iterations between the designer (CAD) and the stress analyst,” says James Ainsworth, Collier Research structural engineering. “This is a very time-consuming process.”
To meet the aggressive V-280 schedule, HyperSizer was employed in a 'design-by-analysis' approach that sized and analyzed the fuselage structure. “The automated analysis tool in our software allows the stress analyst to define the required structural configuration, informing the designer about the best configuration that optimizes the stiffness of the structure,” Ainsworth says.
The V-280 tiltrotor fuselage prototype was delivered by the Bell Helicopter/Spirit AeroSystems team ahead of schedule and within budget. Collier Research's HyperSizer design software supported the program with detailed sizing and structural analysis. (Photo: Business Wire)
HyperSizer also provided the engineers with automated stress-report generation that enabled them to review and vet all relevant data in order to prove-out the structural soundness of the fuselage.
“A small team of stress and design engineers acquired the right tool set to support their in-house capabilities and efficiently deliver ahead of schedule,” Ainsworth adds.
For aircraft and space-launch vehicles fabricated with composite or metallic materials, HyperSizer software automatically performs design, stress analysis, and sizing optimization, typically reducing the weight of structures by 20 to 40 percent. HyperSizer was the first software package used by NASA made available on the commercial market, officials say. The software also is applicable in the wind energy, high-speed rail, automotive, and shipbuilding industries.
The V-280 Valor is competing in the Department of Defense’s Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR TD) program, a precursor to the Department of Defense’s Future Vertical Lift program with the goal to replace 2,000 to 4,000 medium-class utility and attack helicopters.
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