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As we move into the summer months, I am ever thankful that modern commercial aircraft systems have been developed to provide a safe and comfortable passenger experience. The Environmental Control System (ECS) is responsible for keeping the cabin at a comfortable temperature, pressure and humidity throughout the flight profile. This is done through a complex system of ducting, pressure regulators, heat exchangers and air conditioning components. Before the FAA can certify a new aircraft for commercial flight, the manufacturer has to be able to provide proof that the system can respond to situations where things go wrong.

About four years ago, I was invited to an event near SEATAC airport at a friend’s house on a hot summer day. I remember being surprised by the nearly constant noise from aircraft on approach for landing. I asked the host how he managed to live with the noise, to which he explained that he was working with airport officials to reduce noise levels which should help.

Last summer, he invited me over to his home for an event and I was pleasantly surprised by the much-reduced sound levels. It was incredible just how much quieter it was since the last time I was there. This is the case all across the country and, in fact, the world - urban airports are getting quieter, but how?

When you spend as much time in an airplane as I do, you learn to appreciate the performance of the environmental control system (ECS). Modern ESC systems are marvels of engineering with complex mechanisms to control pressure, temperature, humidity and air quality to ensure a comfortable environment for hundreds of passengers. In spite of the significant investment airframers have made over the years, customers are looking for a more comfortable ride. With more and more entries into the regional jet market, airframers are looking for ways to differentiate their planes by providing an upgraded customer experience.

At this year's AIAA SCITECH annual conference, I sat down with the editors of Aerospace America to talk about the future of CFD analysis in the aerospace and defense market.  Predicting the future of CFD is the subject of intense debate. The recent publication of the NASA led CFD Vision 2030 study attempted to define the key challenges that face the industry over the next 15 years. In the report, the authors identified several obstacles to wider adoption of CFD in the aerospace industry:

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