AllyCAD Showcase

Airborne AllyCAD

JJ Pretorius,

The bright colours and precisely sculpted lines come alive at the desk of Johannes J ("call me JJ") Pretorius as he manipulates his CAD software to design the livery of one of SA Airways' new Airbus aircraft, which are replacing the airline's Boeing fleet. Indeed, some of the most dramatically visible examples of our country's international flag-waving have emerged from the project design offices of SAA Technical, SA Airways' technical division.

It's the place where the bright, rainbow livery designs of the planes which performed those breathtaking fly-pasts for the recent Cricket World Cup and earlier Rugby World Cup were brought to life on the computer screen before they were transferred to the aircraft themselves.

Today, they are still about the most instantly recognized jets flying international air routes.

Pretorius is Senior Project Analyst at SAA Technical's airframe and propulsion system engineering division, and his office is where the livery for the new Airbus fleet reaches its final design stages.

The software which he and his team use - virtually exclusively, he says - is AllyCAD, an industrial-strength 2D CAD which is in use worldwide in a variety of industrial design applications.

While the livery of the new SAA fleet is perhaps its most visible local expression of this, the same software is also used for much more prosaic purposes - for example, technical drawings for a test-bench for aircraft engine components such as starter motors and generators, tooling, spares manufacture, equipment-testing, interior passenger seat-plan layout, emergency equipment layout, information and instruction signs, decals. And even something as ordinary as storage brackets for the aircraft galley.
  The size and shape of aircraft has advanced dramatically since AllyCAD was first used by SA Technical in 1987. Along the way, computer design software has made parallel advances, allowing AllyCAD to maintain its value as a drawing programme which can be seamlessly integrated into new technology. The aim is to ensure that it is always up to the minute, in whatever application which is required.

For JJ Pretorius, it has achieved this aim. "It's probably our most important and most commonly used design tool," he says. He likes its simple draughting capability, its ability to operate seamlessly with other software. "You can play around with it to get the designs you want all hang together."

At SAA Technical, all design drawings - whatever the subject - are done using AllyCAD.

For a really big project - a full aircraft exterior livery, for example - Pretorius uses AllyCAD to create a scaled-down version of the required final design, lettering and logo. This is then used in the manufacture of the actual full-sized template - known as a "pounce" - to facilitate the final painting of the livery. A full-sized pounce can be as long as 17m and as high as 2m, depending on the size of the aircraft.

And at the other end of the scale, even the NO SMOKING warning sign you see in the toilets is the creation of AllyCAD.

image Johannes J Pretorius is an SAA Technical career man. He joined in 1978, and it's the only employer he has ever had. Qualified originally as a fitter & turner, he joined SAA in 1978 and moved to the organisation's civil engineering side, and then to the project and design office, where he now sits. His main off-duty pursuit when he's not at his extensive CAD files is breathlessly trying to keep pace with his two children's sporting activities - rugby and cross-country running.

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