In this update: Brake cooling system finished; Video podcast scenes produced; Axle modifications underway; Front wheel steering and suspension gets attention;  A course on reverse engineering.

 Today’s Featured Sponsors

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Clear blue skies today as Team NAE logged in for a warmer work session:  Ed Shadle, Von Armstrong, Les Holm, Keith Zanghi,  Sam Yellowbird, Brandyn Bayes, John Winchester, Mike Thoe, Rich Pengelley, Larry Martinson

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At the top of the list today…..after receiving the right water valve….Les Holm set to work and soon had it installed in the rear brake cooling system. System pressure tests followed and the flow lines to the rear brakes produced a steady stream of water;  sufficient to cool the left and right brake rotors when brakes are applied at high speeds.


Aerodynamics team member, Mike Thoe, visited the hangar today and conferred with Keith, Ed, and  Les on the rear axle modifications.  This is a work in progress; requiring a  lot of thought and planning in order to fold in structural changes that meet both strength and air flow design. Keith and Les measured and cut out a template that will be used to fashion new components and relocate them.

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 Brandyn was working his computer magic, updating the webpages and paving the way for future podcasts.  Von wrote today’s update and continues to painfully inch his way along the information highway, learining more about incorporating pictures and such in the weekly updates. The old adage about teaching old dogs new tricks has some truth to it.   Keith (Cecil B. Dzanghi)  and Ed shot a short production on the brake cooling work.


Jerry Lamb, our good friend and sponsor from LevX®, drove over from Port Angeles and stopped by the hangar to talk with Ed about the magnetic brakes and their newly installed cooling features. Jerry designed the unique braking system for the North American Eagle.

 Toward the end of the day, Ed, Rich, Keith and Les were well into maintenance and adjustments to the front wheel hydraulic steering system.

Dassault Systemes and Idex Solutions sign for another year

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We are pleased to announce Dassault Systèmes and Idex Solutions have extended their support for the North American Eagle™ for another year.  Dassault Systèmes provides license seats of CATIA V5 design software to selected members of our design team.  Running on Lenovo ThinkStations and ThinkPads,  Dassault Systèmes CATIA V5 is the premier CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) software program;  used by thousands of companies world wide. During the day our engineers use CATIA at Boeing.  When home they log on to their computers and utilize the exact same software.  It is a seamless transition and enables our engineering and aerodynamics team to be very effective.

 Dassault Leadership Team

 Bernard Charlès, President and CEO and Philippe Forestier, EVP, Global Affairs and Communities

Steve Wallace, Ed Shadle and Keith Zanghi have spoken at many COE events in this country and at the European CATIA Forum in Paris.


Taban Thompson(Marketing) and Shaun Twyman  CEO of Idex Solutions


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Mark Idex

Mark TenEyck of Idex Solutions

Idex Solutions is a VAR (Value- Added Reseller) of Dassault Systèmes products; along with many other software solutions including IMS Software used by Team North American Eagle™  Ed and Keith have traveled with the Marketing Team at Idex Solutions many times;  including Las Vegas and Orlando COE Conferences.  We have had the oppurtunity to meet many of their customers over the years.

Refresher Course on Product Lifecycle Managment and Reverse Engineering

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The first step of reverse engineering the North American Eagle™ is to place targets over the entire car and shoot it with a digital camera. In our case we shot over 400 photos. It is important that the camera have at least three targets in each of the photos. This is called Photogrammetry. Of course, with hundreds of targets, the camera is picking up many targets at once, as illustrated in the photo above..

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Micah Carter from Capture 3D did all of the photogrammetry work and shots with the ATOS 3D Digitizer.



The next step in the value stream is digitizing the Eagle. We used several tools to accomplish this. Most recently we used the ATOS 3D Digitizer from Capture 3D. You can see from the photo on the right that it scans an area about one meter wide. During the shot it is important that the scan pick up a minimum of three targets. You can see the targets randomly  placed on the Eagle in the photo on the left. When done, you will have a scan similar to the one below.

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Digitized image

Like many large aerospace companies, Team North American Eagle™ has numerous tools to gather this data. Over the years we have used FARO Technologies FaroArms® Photon Laser Scanner to create point clouds. Below are some of those tools in action. Mike Schulz and Barry Young have been very instrumental in making those shoots happen. These models can then be pulled into the other shoots for more detail.




Barry Young Mike Shultz


Point Cloud to Surfaces

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At this point we have what is called a point cloud. This cloud of points is huge…on the order of about 4.5 million points defining the exterior OML (outside mold line) of the vehicle. That point cloud when colorized looks just like a photograph. You can see the point cloud in the illustration below. Most people who see it ithink it is a photo; but it is not. It is a model made up of many millions of points.

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This is not a photo; but a point cloud

To convert this huge point cloud to surfaces,  we use a software tool called Geomagic Studio. Long time sponsors of the North American Eagle™, Geomagic is the most efficient software to use for this purpose. Ed and Keith, over the years, have given many presentations for Geomagic; including Convergence which was held in Savannah, Georgia; and most recently The Points Beyond Tour in Detroit and Dallas.

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Gina Strickland and Ping Fu from Geomagic


At this point, we have many options on what can be done with the surfaces created with Geomagic Software Qualify. We can export it directly to Dassault Systèmes CATIA, or we can use it to start our CFD analysis. We can also use it in IMS Software and create programs to run parts on CNC Milling Centers.

CFD Meshing

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To run CFD (computational fluid dynamics) analysis, or CFD Solutions as it is technically called, we first must run the surfaces through a pre-processing software. The product we use is PointWise Software. This software is used by the largest aerospace companies in the world,  to create what is called a CFD Mesh. An example of this is pictured below.


Here you can clearly see the CFD Mesh over the Geomagic Surfaces. Once the entire vehicle has been converted, it is now ready for the CFD Flow Solver.

CFD Flow Solver

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The flow solver we use is Metacomp Technologies CFD++ Software. This product is used by NASA and all the leading aerospace companies. It is the best flow solver on the market today.

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is the analysis of fluid flow around or inside an object. It can be the flow around a car, boat, or submarine; even the flow of blood through our veins. In our case, we are analyzing the flow of air around the North American Eagle™ The results of that analysis will be CFD solutions to mitigate the transonic shock waves that develop as we transition from subsonic to supersonic speeds while maintaining stability and control of the car.

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After creating millions of cells on the exterior surface of the vehicle, we then use the flow solver to run up to a thousand simulations on each one.

CFD Visualization Software

Team North American Eagle™ has partnered with Computational Engineering International, Inc (CEI) of Apex, North Carolina,  who are providing product support and software solutions using their flagship product,EnSight Gold Visualization Software. EnSight Gold is a post-processing software used to interrogate and visualize CFD Solutions in both graphic or animation form.

CFD Visualization software

As a scriptable language, EnSight Visualization Software is used to display and animate the flow field differences between multiple designs, leading to optimal aerodynamic loads.

Horsepower To Make it Happen!

Lenovo Promo Photo

Lenovo ThinkPad and ThinkStation

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3DConnexion SpacePilot™ Pro 3D Mouse and AMD FirePro V7900 Graphic Card


When combined with other North American Eagle™ engineering partners like Lenovo Professional Grade / C20 and D20 ThinkStations,  3Dconnexion 3D mouse and AMD FirePro V7900 Graphic Card, Team NAE engineers and aerodynamicists have a very powerful engineering workstation.


Graphing & Scientific Calculators

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HP Calculator

One tool that every North American Eagle™ Team engineer uses is the HP50g Graphing & Scientific Calculators. Calculations of “Q” or dynamic pressure are quite easy with this very powerful hand held device.

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In 2009 Ed, Steve and Keith were keynote Speakers at COE in Seattle

COE 2011 Annual PLM Conference and TechniFair was another venue with Team North American Eagle™ participation.

Drafting tables

When 56-0763 was first designed, it was done on drafting tables with slide rules, as shown in the Lockheed Engineering offices above. Fifty years ago, engineers couldn’t imagiine what would be available today. Think what it will be like in the year 2063!

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Eric Wittler With His Lenovo Laptop

All home page photos by Eric Wittler of