Tragic Crash in the Reno National Air Races

By Richard
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On Thursday September 16th, the P51 Mustang “Galloping Host” crashed in the crowd, killing his pilot, James Leeward, and causing multiple fatalities and critical injuries. This is a dreadful day for the whole aviation family.

We’re all sad after this awful accident. In those terrible hours, all our thoughts are going to the victims and their families. The Big Frog Team is safe and we are keeping in contact with them.

Pilots often say that sky’s not the limit. Sadly, sometimes, it is.

Big Frog Establishes a Set of World Premieres at Reno

By Richard
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Capt. Christophe Delbos congratulated after his victory on the Big Frog diesel-powered racer.

Remember Big Frog, the French Challenge at the Reno National Air Races?

The Reno National Air Races are the fastest races in the world. Aircrafts compete in breathtaking races 50 ft above the ground, driven by the famous motto: “Go fast, fly low, turn left!”

An american specialty, the only foreign victory ever was French: Michel Detroyat way back in 1936 on a Caudron with a Renault engine.

Big Frog wanted to follow Detroyat’s track, with an extra-challenge: use a diesel-cycle engine!

A candidate of choice for the Passion for Innovation Program, which welcomed the Team, providing them with CATIA, SIMULIA and Dassault Systèmes experts’ support. Read the full story here.

For their first participation in Reno this year, the Team established on wednesday a whole set of World Premières :

first diesel-powered racer designed and simulated on computer (with our CATIA and SIMULIA solutions)

first diesel-powered aircraft to succed in qualifying at the Reno National Air Races

– and above all, first diesel-powered aircraft victory and in his first race!

This first victory rewards the skills, involvement and passion of the whole Team and the excellence of French technologies, including our 3D design and simulation solutions, the SMA innovative diesel-cycle aero-engine and the perfect intergration of all those elements in the NXT airframe thanks to the Passion for Innovation Program.

Last but not least, congratulations to the pilot, French Air Force Captain Christophe Delbos. Usually a Mirage 2000 fighter pilot, “Bobos” (his official pilot nickname) made a perfect race. Diving on the first pylon like an eagle, he grabbed the race first position right from the start and kept it during the race six laps! According to him, the aircraft went quite well, allowing him to fully concentrate on clean trajectories until he heard the “Race finished” announcement in his helmet.

Once a curiosity after his qualification, Big Frog is now one of the stars of those 2011 Reno Air Races. No doubt Michel Detroyat would be proud of his successors.

Gentlemen, you have a victory! May it be the first one of a long collection!

Keep 3D-ing,

The Raving Rabbids: Interview With Olivier Lemaitre

By Remi
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Raving Rabbids, design, 3D

I had the opportunity to chat with Olivier, who designed the Raving Rabbids figurines, a couple weeks ago. I thought you’d like to hear his story and how he designed these… Enjoy! :wink:

Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Olivier Lemaitre and I worked in the industrial design field for 25 years. I’m the head of Nowiew, a design agency, and I’m currently working on the Raving Rabbids figurines.

How did you meet the Raving Rabbids?

I was already working with Polymark on various projects such as Scooby-Doo or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. They bought the rights for the bobbing head of the Raving Rabbids. Since I like being challenged (we didn’t have much time) I joined the adventure.

It looks like an easy figurine to work on but it’s actually pretty complex. I did my first mockups thanks to computer generated images (with Imagine & Shape) which saved a lot of time. Production took another week and the final product was delivered in the next days, immediately confirmed by my client.

Why did you use Computer Aided Design?

Raving Rabbids, designI can’t work in the industrial design field without CAD software now. The huge advantage is to give clients a real surface to work with… Thanks to that, we don’t stop the digital line. Plus, this line has to start from the very beginning and this beginning is us, the designers.

You were talking about a challenge… Aren’t the Raving Rabbids easy to design?

In my field, I always say it’s harder to make simple things than complicated ones. Clients (and users) will not spend time reviewing all the details of a complex figurine unless there’s a big problem. They will look at how realistic the product is, because it’s full of details. But when you look at the Raving Rabbids, they’re all refined. And that’s where people start judging its curves, which are much tougher than anything else to make perfect. When it’s that smooth, you have no room for mistakes.


Thanks a lot Olivier! :-)



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