The Red Bull Air Race has been going strong since 2003 growing into one of the most exciting motorsport races on the planet combining Formula One Racing with low altitude flight speeds over 250mph.
Recent changes to the World Series aircraft specifications for the 2014 season mean that racers have had to revaluate their planes and look at new engineering solutions that adhere to the standardisation of aircraft propulsion.
With propulsion standards on a level playing field, aerodynamics is where engineers can really give their aircraft an edge. Speed is crucial in the tournament so shapes and surface profiles are specifically designed to deliver optimum airflow across the body but these complex shapes cannot be measured by traditional means with the desired speed or accuracy required.
For the Breitling Racing Team, 3D scanning provided the ideal solution for measuring their aircraft for flow analysis testing before taking to the race. One of the UK’s leading 3D measurement and scanning companies, Measurement Solutions, assisted driver Nigel Lamb and his team in creating a digital representation of his current plane.
Considering accuracy, resolution and the ideal scanning technology, Creaform3D MetraSCAN3D was selected to produce a full 3D scan of the aircraft. With its patented TRUaccuracy technology the scanner was able to record large surfaces extremely quickly and to an accuracy of less than 0.1mm in all measurement conditions.
Tracked by a dual-camera system, a high accuracy dynamic referencing system means that a measured part can move during measurement making it the ideal tool for areas where vibrations could affect the scanning process without the need for adjustments.
The system was used alongside a Creaform MaxSHOT photogrammetry system to provide an accurate reference map across the plane and minimise the time it takes to manually put the data sets together.
In just 24 hours the entire aircraft was scanned and post processed into an industry standard STL mesh ready for importing into airflow analysis and CAD software. As a result, Britain’s Nigel Lamb went on to World Championship glory for the first time on the last day of racing in October 2014.
Measurement Solutions has an impressive track record in delivering its services and products to leading brands including; BMW Group, Jaguar Land Rover, BAE Systems, Honda and EasyJet.