Teens use CAD to create flight simulator
Recently, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported that local high school students had used computer-aided design (CAD) software to create what is probably the world's largest Monopoly board.
Now, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that several teens have used this technology for an even more significant achievement: the creation of a fully-functioning jet flight simulator.
An ambitious project
The simulator, nicknamed Viper, was created by five teens with assistance from several adult mentors, including Tony DeRose, the head of research at Pixar Animation Studios, the news source reports.
The project was inspired by a trip to the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. After riding in a flight simulator, two of the adolescents decided to create their own. Yet while the Smithsonian's simulator had only a 30 degree range of pitch, the teens decided that theirs should have 360 degree mobility for both pitch and roll.
Ultimately, the project took eight months to complete and cost $20,000, much of which was provided by a fundraising campaign on the crowdsourcing website Kickstarter.com.
Along with modeling in Legos and sketches, one of the creators worked with mentors for three months on CAD models to attain the correct dimensions for their machine.
According to the news source, the Viper will make its official debut at the Maker Faire in San Mateo, California.
CAD and aerospace
CAD software has a long history of use within the aerospace industry, improving the performance of both aircraft and spacecraft. For example, NTE-Sener has used SolidWorks CAD software to develop a system that allows astronauts to exercise on the International Space Station, helping them avoid the effects of muscle atrophy that can otherwise plague individuals in zero-gravity environments.