Modeling Highways in the Sky (Cadalyst Daily Archive)

17 Oct, 2006 By: Kenneth Wong

You can't see aviation corridors -- but you can design and analyze them using Autodesk Civil 3D.


There are highways in the sky. You can't see them, but they're there. At Landrum & Brown, a commercial aviation consultancy, they call them "imaginary surfaces." These surfaces define airspace used by planes for takeoffs and landings.p>

Frequently, proposed aerial highways intersect with something on the ground -- a freeway overpass, a cell phone tower or a skyscraper, for example. It's up to firms like Landrum & Brown to help airport planners arrange the imaginary surfaces in a sensible pattern that keeps planes away from obstructions while maintaining a highly efficient air traffic flow to airport runways.

What's the difference between surfaces on the ground and surfaces in the air? According to Bob Endres, manager of Landrum & Brown's CAD engineering department: Nothing. "Who cares if it's up in the air or on the ground?" he says. "Something that's above grade can be a mirror image of something below grade."

During a luncheon hosted by Autodesk, Endres watched a demonstration of Autodesk Civil 3D, a civil engineering software package for transportation, site, sewer, storm drain and subdivision projects. "We don't design roads on the ground, but we design roads in the air," observes Endres. Watching the way the software handled corridors, he thought, "I can model an exact flight path with that." That prompted Landrum & Brown to begin using Autodesk Civil 3D for its work.  Read more >>


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About the Author: Kenneth Wong

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