USA Today recently ran a story on the increase in bird strike incidents in commercial aviation. This is a concern for flight safety and the airlines and airports are trying to find ways to reduce the number of bird strike incidents. Unless you eliminate all of the birds, you can never completely eliminate the risk of bird strikes.
On the other hand, you can do much to reduce the safety risk when an airplane strikes a bird. In much the same say as cars have become safer in automobile crashes, planes can be designed to be safe in a bird strike event. One of the keys to this is the ability to simulate a bird strike event and virtually determine the structural effect of the strike. We can then design structures that will hold up and still function if this event occurs.
Altair will be presenting a paper on the simulation of a bird strike event on a composite structure at the upcoming SAMPE 2011 Conference and Exhibition in Long Beach, CA in May. Altair has the only certified bird model in the industry, which means our virtual bird model has been validated by significant test data and accepted for use by some of the major Aerospace companies in the world.
Another advantage of virtual bird strike tests, you can vary the bird size, impact zones, and angle of attack and analyze many more variations than you can reasonably test physically. This will help to increase the reliability of aerostructures to bird strike events.
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