RDSwin-Pro and RDSwin-Student Comparison

QUESTION: What are the differences between RDSwin-Student and RDSwin-Professional?

ANSWER: RDSwin-Professional and RDSwin-Student are related versions of Dan Raymer's aircraft design and analysis software, targeted to different audiences. RDSwin-Pro is intended for serious professionals in the aircraft design business who work in industry, government, or academia to develop and analyze new aircraft concepts. RDSwin-Student is a tool for students so that they don't waste all the time in their senior design class trying to do the analysis and sizing. They should be learning the overall design process, not struggling to get through the calculations in the 15 or so weeks of a class.

RDSwin-Student and RDSwin-Professional were developed together, and are compiled from the same 82,000+ lines of source code. When RDSwin-Student is compiled, many features are skipped by a compiler meta-command, which also makes certain changes that affect accuracy of results. Differences are listed below. Note that data between the two versions is upward compatible - if you develop data files in RDSwin-Student you can read those into RDSwin-Pro, but not generally the other way around

By the way, it is not possible for a hacker to "turn on" the features that are left out of RDSwin-Student. The affected code is literally not there.

One of the most important differences between the two versions is the license agreement. RDSwin-Student is priced as charity to engineering students, and its license agreement specifically excludes its being used for anything other than education (self-education by working engineers is OK). The pricing of RDSwin-Student is too low to justify its continued development and enhancement. So, if you are a professional user then please - get the RDSwin-Pro installation. Besides, it is a much more powerful program.

RDSwin-Pro features not included in RDSwin-Student:

  1. Export of design layouts in standard IGES and DXF formats, as a RhinoCAD script, and as an input file for VSAERO.
  2. Creation and use of NACA airfoils, and the input of other airfoils from data tables such as seen in classic textbooks and from online sources.
  3. Superconic Surface Loft definition and design tools (NURB subset)
  4. Superconic Surface Automatic Longitudinal Smoothing
  5. Canted and non-planar cross-sections
  6. Volume plot and Mach Plane Cuts
  7. Wing view showing planform plus airfoils as true-views drawn flat
  8. Component side view showing cross-sections as true-views drawn flat
  9. Define wing using different airfoils at root & tip
  10. Replace wing airfoils using different airfoils at root & tip
  11. Cross section stretching of only the front or back of an airfoil, up to the point of maximum thickness.
  12. Redefine wing reference planform automatically to better represent actual geometry
  13. Redefine wing reference planform by dragging lines for leading edge & trailing edge
  14. Set component render color, cap ends during render
  15. Design component "Instances" which are duplicates at different locations.
  16. Automatic scaling or your design to match a new sized takeoff gross weight or optimizer result. This includes resizing wings and tails, reshaping the wing to match optimized planform parameters, stretching the fuselage, revising its fineness ratio, resizing the tires and gear struts, and other changes.
  17. Automatic Carpet Plots for graphical two-variable optimization of the design including performance constraint curves for requirements such as takeoff distance and turn rate.
  18. Multidisciplinary Design Optimizer (MDO) to simultaneously optimize for eight key variables: T/W, W/S, aspect ratio, sweep, taper ratio, wing thickness, fuselage fineness ratio, and wing design lift coefficient (camber, in effect). Optimizations can use any selected measure of merit including gross weight, empty weight, fuel weight, purchase price, life cycle cost, net present value, and internal rate of return.
  19. Automatic sizing trade studies that quickly graph the design weight impact of parametric variations in parasite drag, drag due to lift, specific fuel consumption, dead weight, payload weight, and range. Results can then be replotted with cost as the measure of merit.
  20. ROAST trajectory code for aircraft and launch vehicles (time-stepping code with automatic control logic, trajectory scripts, and real-time control)
  21. Breaks missions into small step sizes so that its sizing, range, and climb calculations are more accurate.
  22. Finds optimal cruise and loiter conditions during sizing and range analysis (user inputs zero for speed and/or altitude), and finds optimal climb speeds between input start and ending conditions. There is a user-defined stall margin for these determinations.
  23. Input and use of jet engine part-power SFC data. In RDS-Student you can only use either the SFC as input, or an approximate part-power adjustment equation.
  24. Define performance calculations using the aircraft weight calculated at a particular point in the sizing calculation (say, at the end of the initial cruise). In RDS-Student you have to input the desired weight or weight fraction.
  25. Creation and use of alternative atmosphere models, and a number of them are provided (ISO+10, etc.)
  26. Input of airspeeds as True or Calibrated. RDS-Student only allows TAS. RDS-Pro also includes the effects of winds on range and sizing calculations.
  27. Graph data export capability so that your RDS results can be read into a dedicated graphing program or into Excel, if you don't think RDS graphs are pretty enough.
  28. Analysis results data export capability for interface to dynamic simulations and similar programs.
  29. Allows changing many of the constants used in the analysis to fine-tune the program to an expert's preferences. In RDS-Student, the defaults are always used.
  30. Automatic takeoff and landing graphs showing the variation of distance with aircraft weight.
  31. Automatically calculates the empty weight sizing exponent ("C") for your design. In RDS-Student you have to use a historical value. RDS-Pro also lets you instantly revise all weights analysis inputs to a new TOGW for what-if studies.
  32. Input and use your own Leading Edge Suction Schedule rather than rely upon the schedules coded in RDS. This is to accommodate companies that use their own “approved” suction schedule for aerodynamic analysis.
  33. Cost module automatically graphs the learning curve effect on production cost and the effect of fuel cost on operating costs.
RDSwin-Professional can be obtained only from Conceptual Research Corp. RDSwin-Student, whose license is strictly limited to student use, can be obtained directly from AIAA It can be bought separately or bundled with Raymer's textbook Aircraft Design: A Conceptual Approach.

The regular license agreement does not permit RDSwin-Student to be installed on a network or in a multi-user university "lab" setting. A university site license for RDSwin-Student can be obtained from AIAA. Some universities prefer to license a few copies of RDSwin-Pro and also receive an inputs-only version of RDSwin that can be freely given to students. This allows them to develop their design inputs on their own computers then load the files on the university's copies of RDSwin-Pro for analysis and optimization.

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