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Visualize YOUR Aircraft Sizing Results with NASA's Vehicle Sketch Pad (OpenVSP)

ATR 72 sketched with OpenVSP


A 3D visualization is missing for many aircraft preliminary sizing tools. NASA’s Open Vehicle Sketch Pad (OpenVSP) is easy to use, but lacks an interface to input consistent aircraft data. Such an interface has been programmed with Excel (in the 2010 version) and is called OpenVSP-Connect. Aircraft are sketched from about 50 parameters. If these are not known to the user, the interface calculates them as good as possible based on simple equations from aircraft design or statistics. Taken this to the extrem, a decent looking aircraft is drawn from as few as two or three input parameters.


A320 sketched with OpenVSP


OpenVSP-Connect is primarily intended as an interface tool between ANY aircraft design tool and Open Vehicle Sketch Pad (OpenVSP) from NASA. OpenVSP-Connect needs OpenVSP for the display of the aircraft. You can download OpenVSP for free: OpenVSP. In the order of 50 core parameters of the aircraft are used to calculate the many input parameters required by OpenVSP to sketch a passenger aircraft. For each of the core parameter a proposed value is given in the user interface and automatically applied as long as the user does not specify his/her own value. The is a fundamental principle of the program: The user is never left alone with an empty data input field. Input fields are always filled with a proposed value. By using all proposed or default values, the program works in "automatic mode": Based on the minimum of just two input values "cruise Mach number" and "number of passengers" an aircraft can be sketched automatically.



A presentation was made in 2013 at the co-located conference / workshop CEAS 2013 / EWADE 2013. The presentation was registered under EWADE but shifted by the programme committee into the CEAS session "5.7 Aircraft Design Methods and Tools II".

item The presentation quoted as an EWADE 2013 contribution:

SCHOLZ, Dieter; SOUSA, Tahir: OpenVSP-Connect - Visualize YOUR Aircraft Sizing Results with NASA's Vehicle Sketch Pad. In: SCHOLZ, Dieter (Ed.): EWADE 2013 - 11th European Workshop on Aircraft Design Education (16.-19. September 2013, Linköping, Sweden) - EWADE 2013 uploads are pending.

item The presentation quoted as CEAS 2013 contribution without paper in the proceedings:

SCHOLZ, Dieter; SOUSA, Tahir: OpenVSP-Connect – Visualize YOUR Aircraft Sizing Results with NASA's Vehicle Sketch Pad. (4th CEAS Air & Space Conference, 16.-19. September 2013, Linköping, Sweden) : Presentation. - Download:

*.pdf OpenVSP_PRE_CEAS_2013_OpenVSP-Connect_2013-09-16.pdf     Size:  3.7M


Logo GNU Public License 3

OpenVSP-Connect is a project by Aircraft Design and Systems Group (AERO) at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW Hamburg). The programme will be made public with the GNU Public License 3.

OpenVSP/OpenVSP-Connect Title


!!! OpenVSP-Connect still runs on OpenVSP 2.2.4 for Win 32 !!!
For this reason, you must work with the older OpenVSP version that you can download below, if you want to work with OpenVSP-Connect!

Everything you need: Quick and dirty in one ZIP-file (UNSUPPORTED!)
Important in Germany: "Excel-Optionen: Erweitert: Dezimaltrennzeichen: ."
Important: Excel Options, Equations/Formula: Allow Iteration (max. 100; change: 0.001)
Important: Excel Options, Trust, Settings in Trust Center: activate all macros; trust VBA models

*.zip     Size:  6.4M

STAND:  09 July 2018
AUTHOR:  Prof. Dr. Scholz
home  Prof. Dr. Scholz
home  Aircraft Design and Systems Group (AERO)
home  Aeronautical Engineering   deutsch
home  Department of Automotive and Aeronautical Engineering  deutsch
home  Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science
home  Hamburg University of Applied Sciences