This paper discusses the role that computational fluid dynamics plays in the design of aircraft. An overview of the design process is provided, covering some of the typical decisions that a design team addresses within a multi-disciplinary environment. On a very regular basis trade-offs between disciplines have to be made where a set of conflicting requirements exists. Within an aircraft development project, we focus on the aerodynamic design problem and review how this process has been advanced, first with the improving capabilities of traditional computational fluid dynamics analyses, and then with aerodynamic optimizations based on these increasingly accurate methods.

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