The DEP aircraft comprehensive analysis and flight simulation software proposed to be developed would enable accurate prediction and optimization of aerodynamic and aeroelastic performance, loads, flight dynamics and acoustics of DEP aircraft in computation times required for daily design work. The proposed approach would address many of the key technical objectives cited in the solicitation of "innovative approaches in designing and analyzing the DEP aircraft", directly supporting NASA's ARMD Strategic Thrust #3 (Ultra-Efficient Commercial Vehicles) and #4 (Transition to Low-Carbon Propulsion) in the Technology Roadmap to achieve Low Carbon Emissions through use of alternative propulsion systems such as electric/hybrid propulsion. The developed analysis, flight simulation and acoustic prediction tool would be of immediate use to NASA engineers evaluating and investigating advantageous DEP configurations to develop and pursue, such as the current NASA SCEPTOR configuration under study. The modular approach would allow the new technology to be implemented within NASA's MDAO software - a flexible optimization environment being developed by NASA to support advanced optimization methods. As such, the new technology could leverage the MDAO framework to provide NASA an efficient means to quickly determine optimum DEP (and other V/STOL) aircraft designs, a great benefit given the broad possibilities afforded by multiple distributed propulsors.
The DEP aircraft comprehensive analysis and flight simulation software proposed to be developed by CDI would also be of great benefit to industry and the DoD. NASA and CDI are collaborating with industry partners who are already developing future DEP aircraft concepts and who will participate in determining which additional analysis capabilities would be of greatest benefit to them in this endeavor. CDI already licenses analysis and design software throughout the V/STOL aircraft manufacturing community and our clients are eager to see enhancements required for modeling DEP aircraft developed and implemented. Because of this close collaboration, CDI anticipates swift commercialization and utilization of the new developed software by industry. CDI also has a long history of participating in industry teams performing large scale Future Vehicle Lift (FVL) aircraft development programs for the military, (e.g. DARPA MAR, TERN and GREMLINS; DoD JMR). The software developed in the proposed effort would advance the analysis capabilities required for these and future FVL aircraft programs and thus find immediate use in these applications as well, not only by CDI providing engineering services, but also by aircraft manufacturers who license our software and DoD agencies who evaluate FVL concepts proposed by industry. Thus the new technology will find a relevant home in the entire arena of V/STOL aircraft development.