• The things that Piano is used for:

Piano was conceived as a preliminary aircraft sizing and analysis tool. It has contributed to several real-world design projects, including internal Airbus conceptual studies of the UHCA (which led to the A380), a number of 70-100 seater designs, and at least one new mid-sized business jet currently in production. A major influence has come from engine manufacturers. Piano does not design the engine, but it is ideal for studying the application of different powerplants to both existing and projected aircraft. Consequently, engine+airframe evaluation is one the most extensive areas of usage for Piano. It has served as a 'common reference' tool between airframers and engine makers during cooperative studies.

The performance capabilities of Piano also proved to be perfectly matched to flight profile analysis focused on the environment. A number of major studies have used it to examine the global effects of aircraft fleet operations. Piano can easily calculate the spatial distribution of fuel flows and associated emissions of atmospheric pollutants (NOx, CO and hydrocarbons) along a flightpath, given the standard engine emission indices published for newly certificated engines. You can try Googling "piano aircraft emissions" to see various high-level reports it was used in. Flightpath modelling can include arbitrary landing/takeoff cycle (LTO) or Air Traffic Control (ATC) considerations.

Research and Governmental institutions have used Piano in-house as part of their independent evaluations of various future projects, which can influence major decisions on questions of policy and funding.

One major advantage of Piano is that both projected and existing aircraft can be modelled and compared using similar standards and technological baselines. Piano's large database of aircraft is of vital significance, since aircraft design does not take place in a vacuum. The user can modify any aircraft already in the database, or create entirely new ones from scratch. Available knowledge of specific aircraft types varies, ranging from simple press releases or brochures to explicit aerodynamic, engine and performance data. Whatever the situation, Piano offers appropriate adjustments for maximising the fidelity of each model.

Piano is applicable to conventional commercial subsonic aircraft. That covers the vast majority of the world's civil carrier fleet. The size of aircraft modelled in the database ranges from very small business jets (like the Eclipse) up to the A380 and its likely future derivatives. The methodology is optimally tailored to FAR25/JAR25 designs, although it has also been applied to some smaller (FAR23) designs and to cargo transporters.

What Piano is and does:

• Piano is an integrated tool for analysing and comparing existing or projected commercial aircraft. It generates fast, accurate, industrial-quality evaluations (even on a laptop) covering geometry, mass, aerodynamics, flight performance and other aspects.

• Piano benefits from more than fifteen years of software development expertise, methodology evolution and customer feedback. It is backed up by a long-term commitment and is widely used by many prestigious Aerospace organisations.

• It is applicable to conventional commercial subsonic aircraft ranging in size from small business jets to the largest airliners currently envisaged.

• It includes a large and continually updated database of more than 250 aircraft, calibrated with the best available data collected over many years.

• Piano can be used to generate new conceptual designs through single-point or 'family' analysis, multi-variable numerical optimization, or parametric sensitivity studies.

• Projected and existing aircraft are compared impartially within a single environment using consistent standards.

• Aircraft models can be adjusted in many ways to match known specifications or claimed performance levels.

• Piano can execute detailed flight performance calculations. Off-design missions and time/distance/altitude/fuel data rarely quoted in brochures can be evaluated easily.

• Piano is a highly interactive and intuitive package. The analyst is fully in charge at all times.

• Extra utilities (airports database, airspeed conversions etc) constitute a designer's everyday toolkit.

What Piano is not, and does not do:

• Piano is not a substitute for professional experience. Rather, it boosts productivity and awareness by providing a flexible and independent means of analysis or verification. It does not replace inventiveness or judgement, but is a servant to these qualities.

• Piano is a tool. It cannot eliminate basic conceptual limitations of aircraft project analysis, or provide 'magic' solutions. The aim is to provide fast and accurate data, not to dictate a direction to the user.

• It is primarily aimed at conventional, commercial, subsonic aircraft certificated to civil standards. It is not suitable for military, supersonic or unconventional (e.g. canard, multisurface, or blended body) configurations.

• Piano utilises preliminary design methodologies that cannot answer detailed design questions such as those involving individual component stressing or dynamic control aspects.

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