(Note: the information below is provided with the best of intentions but please consult an expert
before modifying any computer settings. This website, CRC, and D. Raymer assume no
liability if these suggestions don't work or cause other problems!)
To install RDSwin, just click on RDSwinInstall.exe on your CD-ROM. Run it, and then follow instructions.
Or, you can do the installation yourself. Just copy the entire CD-ROM into your computer’s root directory (C:\). This will create a new directory
C:\RDS-win, plus several needed subdirectories, and fill them with the program and associated files.
Today’s computers have a wide range of security software to protect against viruses and malicious software, and to protect companies from installation
of unauthorized or pirated software on their computers. Depending upon the security methods in use, there may be problems getting RDSwin to run the
first time. Since RDSwin is not used widely enough to be flagged as “normal” by security software, it may be flagged as “suspicious.” If so, you may have
to open the security software and give RDSwin permission to run. You may need to install RDSwin while logged on to
Windows as “Administrator.” You may need to “Unblock” it using My Computer or Windows Explorer. Right-click on RDSwin.exe,
go to Properties, and click UnBlock.
RDSwin is not intended to be installed on a network and will almost certainly not work if that is attempted. The license specifically prohibits this,
so don’t be surprised when it doesn’t work!
If you are installing RDS-Professional, the first time you run it
a message will appear with an alphanumeric code generated from parameters in your computer system.
Email this to the address provided and an unlock code will be sent to you. This must be entered
only one time.
RDSwin Desktop Shortcut
To set up a Windows Shortcut, use My Computer or Windows Explorer. In the main RDS directory (default is C:\RDS-Win), find and right-click on the
program file RDSwin.exe, and select SendTo-Desktop. Now you can click on the Shortcut icon to start
RDSwin. It looks nicer if you right-click on the Shortcut icon, select Rename, and change “Shortcut to RDSwin.EXE” to simply “RDSwin”. You can also change
the shortcut Icon. Several Icons with various colors can be found in the RDSresource directory with filenames such as RDSwinIconGreen.ico.
Running RDSwin under 64-bit Windows
...should be no problem for a 32-bit application like RDSwin. If you do experience trouble, you may need to run
with Administrator access. Right-click on your RDSwin shortcut and select “Run as Administrator”. If that fixes it, set a program to always
run that way by right-clicking on the shortcut. Go to Properties-Compatibility tab, and check the box “Run as Administrator”.
Running RDSwin under Linux or on a MAC
RDSwin can be run under Linux or on a MAC using WINE, a free open-source program that
allows Windows programs to run on non-Windows computers. You aren't supposed to call it an "emulator" and in fact, WINE is
said to be an acronym for "Wine Is Not an Emulator." The WINE website calls it a "compatibility layer capable of running Windows applications on several POSIX-compliant
operating systems." Whatever. It works, and it's free.
RDSwin-Professional will probably not work under Linux or on a MAC due to the security system employed. Potential
customers should contact CRC to discuss options. Or just purchase a cheap low-end PC for running RDS!
If RDSwin won't run
RDSwin has built-in error checking for likely problems, with pop-up descriptions to help you resolve
any issues. Hopefully the suggestions below aren't needed...
Nothing Happens on First Use:
The most obvious problem - no offense - is that you have copied RDSwin from another computer rather
than installing it from an original CD. Don't do that.
Another possibility - you have somehow deleted or corrupted some of the required DLL's and resource files. Reinstall
from the original CD.
And another - your security software doesn't like RDSwin and is stopping execution but isn't warning you. See
above discussion of installation.
Nothing Happens, or Main Menu Page Opens but Nothing Works:
You may have a bad RDSCONFG file, caused by an irregular termination or incorrect installation.
RDSwin can't "find itself" because
that file indicates what directory to look in to find needed resource files and images.
The solution is simple - exit and delete the file RDSCONFG.RTD from your
RDS directory, then restart RDSwin . A new file will be created.
RDSwin Won't Run, or Strange Termination Errors Occur:
If RDSwin will not run or you get strange termination errors when
saving a file or selecting a command, one possibility is that Windows has mysteriously set the attributes of some
needed files to Read-Only. Go to Windows Explorer and highlight all the files in your
RDSwin program directory. Right-click, select Properties, and make sure that Read-Only, Archive, and
Hidden are not checked. Also do this for the RDSresource subdirectory.
Another way to fix this - open the command box (Start-Run) and enter
C: attrib -a -r -h RDSwin (assuming your RDS program directory is C:\RDSwin as recommended).
Problems With the Old RDS-DOS:
Recovering Design Layout Module files after abnormal termination
If you have been working in the Design Layout Module and RDSwin should abnormally terminate for some reason,
your most-recent design edits can be recovered. Just start RDSwin again and click on Yes when
asked if you want to save the recovered file. Go to your RDSuser folder and open it, then if you wish, save it
using the correct filename. Note that if you reply No, the recovered file is immediately erased.
I can't see anything in a Graph or Design Layout View:
Maybe you have the background and line colors set to the same color. Fix in Options-TextAndLineColors.
How to capture RDS graphs and drawings
RDSwin creates graphs and drawings which can be used in such Windows programs as PowerPoint(tm) and Word(tm).
In the pulldown menu File options you can select SaveScreenImage (bmp or jpg), or Copy the screen image to the Windows
clipboard. In Graphs or the Design Layout Module you can instantly created a bitmap image file by pressing "B", and
you can copy to the Clipboard by pressing Ctrl-C.
RDSwin won't Print anything
It should. Make sure your default Windows printer is working properly then try again.
RDS Units Conversion
RDSwin is fully capable in both SI Metric (MKS) units and in units of the
British Imperial (FPS) type. In the FPS units RDS uses thrust in
lbs., C in 1/hr, altitude in feet, and velocity in either
knots or Mach Number. In the MKS units RDS uses thrust in kN, C in
mg/Ns, altitude in meters, and velocity in either km/hr or Mach Number.
Note that it is not necessary to identify whether knots (or km/hr) or
Mach Number are used because RDS assumes that any velocity values less
than 10 were given in Mach Number.
You can enter inputs in MKS or FPS, and can switch at will between them
by selecting units from the OPTIONS menu. Or, you can instantly switch
units by pressing `#' (the pound sign) anytime RDS is waiting for a
An RDS-Professional customer known for unusual but successful
designs has asked about designing aircraft with no lateral
symmetry plane - including the wing. In such a design the wing may have
different trapezoidal geometries for left and right side, and
those sides may not even join at the aircraft "centerline" but at some
To facilitate such designs, the Design Layout Module allows
wings and tails to reflect across their own root chord rather than
across the aircraft centerline as is the usual practice. This allows
a wing or tail which is laterally symmetric but is not centered on the
For a truly wild design, completely different left-right wing panels can
be separately created and placed. Create each separately, selecting "One Side of Global CL" when
prompted for symmetry. Enter desired areas, aspect ratios, and
taper ratios as if each wing panel would be reflected across the global
centerline. In other words, if you are creating the left panel which is
to have an area of 50 by itself, enter 100. When creating the wing panel
for the right side of the aircraft, again enter double the area, but use
a negative value when entering aspect ratio. This will invert that
wing panel to the other side of the aircraft. You can instead use positive aspect
ratio when creating the right-side wing panel then later scale it by X=-1.
Another approach - create the left-side panel, copy it, scale it by X=-1, then
make whatever other changes are needed.
The reason for treating these one-side wing panels as if they were part of
a complete wing is simple - it allows converting from reflected to nonreflected
and back again without changing the wing trapezoidal geometry.
For weights and aerodynamics analysis you must CAREFULLY
review and revise the geometric inputs estimated by the Design
Layout Module in the output TAB file. It is suggested that the wing geometric inputs be
defined assuming an equivalent total trapezoidal planform based on the
total wing area and total span, the total exposed wing area, and
an averaged sweep, taper, and thickness.
How do I input an airfoil in the Design Layout Module?
The Design Layout Module reads airfoils in from tables. For student usage one of the stored airfoils already available
should suffice for most designs. If you must use another airfoil, use WordPad to add a new airfoil to
the RDS airfoil table where it will be available for use by the wing creation routine. Open file
RDSAF.DAF and read the instructions. Make sure you save the table as RDSAF.DAF. Windows may try to
add an extension such as RDSAF.DAF.TXT in which case RDS will still use the old version.
In the Professional version there is a point-by-point airfoil input capability which you can select instead of picking
an airfoil. There is also a routine that will create NACA airfoils from a few simple inputs.
RDS-DLM acts strange when I change geometry type
The option to change Geometry Type in Component-Parameters is for experts only, and is not normally needed. It does
not do any geometric conversion, it only changes the parameter that tells the drawing routines whether the
stored component points represent SuperConics or are just surface points. For wings
and tails, this parameter indicates the latter (=0), whereas for most other components it indicates SuperConics (=1).
If you want to convert a SuperConic component to Points, use MiscCompOptions-Convert. There is currently no
capability to convert a Point component to SuperConics - you have to build it that way from the start. And, why
I designed an airplane in MKS when I thought RDS-DLM was in FPS units (or vice-versa)
Just scale the whole thing. Select all components. Then do Component-Scale, XYZ. Enter 0.3048 if you meant to enter FPS
but DLM was set to MKS, or enter 3.28084 if you meant to enter MKS but
DLM was set to FPS. DLM will scale locations around the selected leader as it scales the components, so you
should pick a "Leader" component with location of (0,0,0).
Does RDSwin make drawings for me to build my design?
RDSwin does not put out drawings for fabrication. Such drawings are done on detail design CAD programs such as
RDSwin does what these detail design programs cannot do - let you quickly put
together an entire aircraft concept design then analyze and optimize it.
When you've settled on an overall concept design, then you do the detail
design on a different CAD program, or a drafting table if you prefer!
Proper use of "Design Lift Coefficient" in Aerodynamics Module
Several users have had problems due to a
misunderstanding of the notion of "Design Lift Coefficient", or
CL-design in the .DAA aerodynamics input file. This is NOT the
maximum lift coefficient, but the lift coefficient at which the
final wing design is supposed to have its BEST L/D.
Typically this is about 0.3 to 0.5, and is usually near the cruise lift
coefficient for obvious reasons. The airfoil is normally selected or designed to be best at
this lift coefficient as well (see fig 4.9 in Raymer's book).
Propeller Analysis - Thrust Correction Tricks
Propeller thrust corrections are normally applied, but can be skipped as follows:
- Tip Mach correction (Eq. 13.19) can be shut off by setting blade t/c=-1 (if set to 0, RDS assumes .03)
- Nacelle Blockage correction (Eq. 13.18) can be shut off by setting Nacelle X-area=0
- D/q-Cooling correction (Eq. 13.21) and D/q-Misc correction (Eq. 13.22) can both be shut off by setting Fudge-Misc=0
What are the differences between RDS-Pro and RDS-Student?
RDS-Professional and RDS-Student are related and are actually compiled from the same 56,000+ lines of source code.
When RDS-Student is compiled, many features are skipped by a compiler meta-command, which also makes certain changes that reduce the accuracy of results.
An important difference is the license agreement. RDS-Student is licensed only for student use, and is priced accordingly.
More information and a comparison between RDS-Pro and RDS-Student can be found here.
Raymer's Secret RDSwin Hacks
As we all learned from the classic movie Wargames
("...shall we play a game?..."), we computer programmers cannot
resist the urge to install "backdoors" and other hidden code. I'll reveal a few, as I feel like it, starting with:
- Entering the exclamation mark (!) from almost any menu or prompt will immediately terminate RDSwin.
All work is lost except recent edits to your design layout (DLM), so be careful with this!
- In any Design Layout Module View, pressing the Underscore “_” (looks like a slicer) will render that design….but slowly. You’ll see it start from the
farthest away point, drawing every panel of the display as it moves forward, including all internal components.
- Make sure your speaker is on, then click on the big RDS on the main menu page. Try it several times.
RDSwin Bug Alerts
Bugs, Mr. Rico.
Zillions of em!
BUG ALERT 1: ...OK, some minor bugs have been found in the Design Layout Module.
To minimize problems until an update is posted, use the pulldown menu to select ShapeComponent. If you are trying to Shape
or Assemble and nothing seems to happen, re-do the SelectComp for Edit. Sometimes it "forgets" - don't know why yet!
Also, some have reported problems with the Install utility (probably resulting from security software, and most say it works fine). If you have problems, use the
alternative "copy everything" method described above. It's easy.
Send a Bug message to AircraftDesign.Com. .
Be clear, be specific, and be nice!
Where are the old RDS-DOS Tips and Tricks?
Still running RDS-DOS? Too bad, you really should get RDSwin as soon as possible. But if you are looking for the old
RDS-DOS tips and tricks, click here.
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