What are the main structural design software packages that are used by the most of the aircraft manufacturers. There are a number of software packages but which one is widely accepted and used for the structural design of the aeroplane.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Aviation. Currently, your question might not be suitable, as it's asking for recommendations mainly based on opinion. Plus, it could change at any time, depending on the situation. These types of questions are quite difficult to fit into the Stack Exchange network, as explained in our About page. $\endgroup$ Jan 15, 2014 at 6:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I actually really like this question, but I agree with @Qantas94Heavy. $\endgroup$ Jan 15, 2014 at 11:45
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Maybe we could try to create a CW listing and describing the main ones and try to match them to the companies as far as we know... $\endgroup$
    – Ludovic C.
    Jan 15, 2014 at 12:32

2 Answers 2


CATIA has been used in large projects like Boeing 777 and companies like Lockheed Martin.

I wouldn't say it is the standard across the aerospace industry though as other software like Pro E and Solidworks can be used as well.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ CATIA is primarily a CAD software for 3D design (which is used in aerospace). Some tools for meshing and FE-analysis have beend added over time, but for major structural work dedicated FE packages are used. $\endgroup$
    – yankeekilo
    Jan 15, 2014 at 18:45
  • $\begingroup$ @yankeekilo I completely agree. I was focusing more on just the design aspect instead of the FE analysis (I was under the assumption that the OP was looking for just design). However just like any software used in the process of engineering the goal is to know the fundamentals of design, simulation and analysis so that you can apply it to any software suite provided to you. $\endgroup$ Jan 15, 2014 at 19:23

There are many package available for structural analysis, but I know that NASTRAN/PATRAN are used extensively in aerospace engineering.

The software was originally developed for NASA in the sixties and has been expanded with a suite of problem solvers for various structural problems including fatigue and acoustics.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.