DarkAero, an aviation company that specializes in aerospace composite products and high-performance experimental kit aircraft will exploit Onshape’ CAD system.

The company is working on the development of a two-seat carbon-fiber aircraft. Called DarkAero 1, the company aims to lay emphasis on speed, lightweight and fuel-efficiency in its manufacturing.

As far as design is concerned, the same software can be used in various industries including the automotive and the aerospace. It should be noted that sometimes, the aerospace and the automotive often require the same tools for manufacturing. The use of Onshape’s CAD system might therefore certainly easily adapt to the aviation industry. The software has already proven itself in the automotive industry.

Certification of kit aircraft

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration certifies kit aircraft for safety and airworthiness, classifying them in their experimental category. Pilots building experimental aircraft devote 1,000 to 2,000 man hours assembling these kits.

The most popular kit airplanes on the market are around 200 miles per hour maximum cruise speed and have a 1,000 mile range tops,” says DarkAero CEO Ryley Karl. “For the DarkAero 1, we’re targeting a maximum cruise speed of 275 miles per hour and a range of over 1,500 miles depending on your payload and cruise speed. Onshape is helping us design for a higher level of performance.”

In Onshape’s Multi-Part Part Studio, all parts related to one another are designed together in one place, instead of the traditional file-based CAD approach of bouncing back and forth between individual part files. By defining common features and inter-part relationships in one place, engineers can ensure that the results of their design changes are predictable and robust.

DarkAero is not only striving to build faster and more fuel-efficient planes, they’re also aiming to deliver sleek aesthetics – like a sports car in the sky,” says Onshape co-founder John McEleney.

Karl adds that Onshape’s real-time data management – which enables every member of a team to instantly see each other’s design changes made from anywhere – was another key reason DarkAero decided to choose the cloud CAD system.

The first DarkAero 1 prototype is expected to be released at the 2019 Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture Show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin next July.

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