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Applied Computer Aided Design Using Aerospace Vehicles For Sophomore Level Students

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Design in Engineering Eduaction - Poster Session

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.248.1 - 12.248.5



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Paper Authors


James Helbling Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

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Currently an Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering where he teaches structural analysis, computer aided design, and aircraft detail design courses. He has 21 years of industry experience with McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) and Northrop Grumman Corporation where he specialized in structural fatigue loading and served as manager of F-5/T-38 Engineering.

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Darin Marriott Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

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Dr. Marriott is currently an Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. He teaches space propulsion systems, experimental space systems and computer aided design. His graduate research focused on plasma dynamics for space propulsion and his current research involves creation of linear induction catapults for researching high speed launch applications.

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Thomas Gally Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

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Currently Chair and Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering specializing in teaching aerodynamics and aircraft design. He has industry experience with Boeing Commercial Airplanes-Seattle, General Dynamics Fort Worth Division, and NASA’s Langley Research Center and Johnson Space Center; prior academic experience with the American University in Cairo and Texas A&M University.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Applied Computer Aided Design Using Aerospace Vehicles for Sophomore Level Students Jim Helbling, Darin Marriott, and Tom Gally Aerospace Engineering Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott


The Aerospace Engineering Department at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott recently revised its basic Computer Aided Design (CAD) course to include a significant aerospace vehicle design component. The purpose of this course is intended to both introduce the students to engineering design graphics using modern CAD tools and to bridge the gap between a freshmen course in the introduction to design and the senior capstone design courses. Also, the positioning of this course in the sophomore year allows for the use of more advanced concepts than can realistically be expected for freshman while providing an introduction to the concepts and analysis methods the students will learn as juniors. The use of CAD tools in the design reinforces the computer skills the students need later, particularly in capstone design, and provides a motivation for our students who are excited by aerospace vehicles.

The content of the course provides for a parallel development of CAD skills with the introduction of aerospace vehicle concepts and analysis tools. The course includes an experience in both spacecraft design (astronautics) and aircraft design (aeronautics) in line with the degree options the students will have during the following two years. The introduction of part and assembly design methods facilitates the spacecraft design which, by and large, consists of simple geometric shapes. The introduction of complex shapes and surface lofts later in the semester facilitates the design of aircraft which typically have more complex geometries due to aerodynamic shaping.

The first semester of offering this course appears to have been a great success in both achieving the desired academic outcomes and in creating fun and excitement in an otherwise very intense sophomore year. The follow sections describe in more detail the goals and implementation of this course as well as some lessons learned after the first semester.

Course Creation and Implementation

The impetus for creating the Computer Aided Conceptual Design course was twofold: 1) to create a sophomore level design course to get students excited about aerospace engineering, and 2) to provide more timely instruction of Computer Aided Design (CAD) and show how it relates to the design of an aerospace system. A recent engineering curriculum change at Embry-Riddle resulted in the creation of a ‘common freshmen experience’, where students are introduced to an interdisciplinary curriculum consisting of aerospace, electrical, and computer engineering courses. As a result of this change, Aerospace Engineering students were no longer being exposed to aircraft or spacecraft design during their first two years of study. The Computer Aided Conceptual Design course is meant to address this gap, and thereby provide a preview of

Helbling, J., & Marriott, D., & Gally, T. (2007, June), Applied Computer Aided Design Using Aerospace Vehicles For Sophomore Level Students Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2915

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