Usage of fiber reinforced composite material entered an new era when leading aircraft OEMs took an unprecedented step to design and manufacture essentially full composite airframe for commercial airliners. Composite structures offer unmatched design potential as the laminate material properties can be tailored almost continuously throughout the structure. However, this increased design freedom also brings new challenges for the design process and software. Moreover, as a relatively new material, composite behaviors are more complex and less fully understood by design engineers. Therefore, reliable simulation for highly complex events like bird strike and ditching can play an important role in shortening the product design cycle. This paper showcases two area of CAE tools for composite applications. On advanced simulation, bird strike simulation with Altair RADIOSS  is demonstrated on an aircraft underbelly fairing. On design optimization, an airplane wing structure is designed using an innovative composite optimization process implemented in Altair OptiStruct [1-3]. OptiStruct has seen increasing adoption among aerospace OEMs, as demonstrated in the Bombardier application process described in this paper.