There is an urgent need to help revive an ailing domestic general aviation industry in the United States. That imperative is receiving increased attention by NASA.

To this end, by way of a Langley Research Center Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract, DARcorporation of Lawrence, Kansas has made the art of designing a general aviation aircraft far easier and less expensive.

Today’s elite corps of aircraft manufacturers utilize powerful computers capable of running expensive Computer Aided Design (CAD) software. But the majority of small General Aviation manufacturers cannot afford these investments. Rather, small firms design on paper or with computers utilizing self-generated programs on spreadsheets.

DARcorporation has developed a General Aviation CAD package. This affordable, user-friendly preliminary design system for General Aviation aircraft runs on the popular 486 IBM-compatible personal computers. The system gives the design engineer the tools to briskly evolve an aircraft configuration from weight sizing and wing loading to stability and control surface requirements, among a host of parameters.

A Phase II SBIR contract was awarded by NASA to the company, resulting in a commercial product that the firm is now marketing. Individuals who are taking the home-built approach, small manufacturers of General Aviation airplanes, as well as students and others interested in the design and analysis of aircraft are possible users of the package.

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