Numerical Simulation of a Paratrooper Drop from a Cargo Aircraft

This project was initiated to improve the understanding of the phenomena affecting paratrooper drop paths which is important to insure effective deployment.

In these preliminary simulations, a generic cargo aircraft is modeled and meshed using automatic mesh generation software. Using this mesh, a numerical simulation of the 3D fluid flow around the aircraft is performed using finite element methods. Particle tracing software is then used to approximately determine the possible paratrooper drop paths.

Also, the 3D flow behavior around the aircraft, together with the paratrooper, is simulated. A model of the paratrooper is meshed along with the aircraft, and the airflow pattern is computed for each time step. During the numerical simulation, the paratrooper translates and rotates based on Newton's laws of motion, gravity, and the fluid forces. This large numerical simulation is computed on the scalable CRAY T3D HPC system.