The Big Frog Challenge
The Reno Air races are the most famous air races in the USA and probably in the world. Today, a French team challenges the best air racers: they want to win Reno with a diesel engine!
Faster but greener
Imagine ... 10 meters high pylons making an ovoid courses 3 to 8.5 miles long.
During five days, high performance aircraft are going to compete in multi-laps races over the Nevada desert. Up to 8 aircraft per race will have only one obsession: fly low, fly fast, turn left! Ten laps will make it possible to designate a winner in each of the six aircraft categories.
That's Reno, by far the fastest race in the world.
I already see some raised eyebrows. What? everyone's talking about climate change, going green etc, and you're talking about a race eating up indecent quantities of Avgas, the expensive aviation gasoline. Have you gone mad?
Well, it could be, but not the way you're thinking. The real, good question is: can performance be green or at least greener?
A French team decided to give this question an answer: the Big Frog Team. The challenge is multiple: human, sport, technological, environmental and historical.
The human challenge
The Big Frog Team is made of people from different horizons: an awesome pilot, an aero engineer having made part of his career in Formula 1 top teams, a very well known Sport journalist and a communication expert. This multi-talented team has definitely got the technical skills and the racing and winning culture needed for that adventure.
The sport challenge
For all motorsports addicts, the fastest race in the world is definitely the one to win. Enough said!
The technical challenge
When you want to challenge the best air racers in the world, you must innovate. That's what the Big Frog Team is doing. First, they acquired a competition-proven Nemesis (TM) NXT kit.
Instead of the avgas engine meant for the kit, they decided to use a diesel engine. Fueled by the cheaper Jet A or Jet A1, that engine ensures a longer range and all the reliability of diesel engines.
The technical challenge is important: it's the first time that a diesel engine is to power a composite aircraft and above all to outperform the best racers in the world!
The environmental challenge
As said above, can performance be greener? The Big Frog Team wants to answer "yes" to the question. Rather than "don't race anymore", they want to do it in a different, greener way. The SMA engine has a better output that a classic engine and uses Jet fuel, which is more environment-friendly and cheaper than leaded AvGas.
The historical challenge
The first air race ever took place in Reims one century ago (1909). The Big Frog French Challenge is a fine and somewhat ironic way to remind our US friends where it all began. Plus, a Big Frog Victory would be a magnificent centenary celebration !
Dassault Systèmes is happy to welcome the Big Frog Challenge in the Passion for Innovation Program.
The Team has integrated the SMA engine into the Nemesis (TM) using SIMULIA and CATIA. SIMULIA enabled to simulate the integration while optimizing the vibrations. CATIA made it possible to design the necessary adjustment to air intakes and exhausts to accomodate the engine in the aircraft nose. The Nemesis and the SMA engine having been both designed with CATIA, which solutions could best do the job if not ours?
Technical challenge, fighting spirit, search for excellence and environmental concern are values that we share with the Big Frog Team. They gathered us around this project and could gather us around future ones.
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