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Lukasz Lindstedt

Numerical Simulation of Glider Crash Against a Non-Deformable Barrier

This study, describing computer simulation of a glider crash against a non-deformable ground barrier, is a part of a larger glider crash modeling project. The studies were intended to develop a numerical model of the pilot - glider - environment system, whereby the dynamics of the human body and the composite cockpit structure during a crash would make it possible to analyze flight accidents with focus on the pilot's safety. Notwithstanding that accidents involving glider crash against a rigid barrier (a wall, for example) are not common, establishing a simulation model for such event may prove quite useful considering subsequent research projects. First, it is much easier to observe the process of composite cockpit structure destruction if the crash is against a rigid barrier. Furthermore, the use of a non-deformable barrier allows one to avoid the errors that are associated with the modeling of a deformable substrate, which in most cases in quite problematic. Crash test simulation, carried out using a MAYMO package, involved a glider crash against a wall positioned perpendicularly to the object moving at a speed of 77 km/h. Computations allowed for determination of time intervals of the signals that are required to assess the behavior of the cockpit and pilot's body - accelerations and displacements in selected points of the glider's structure and loads applied to the pilot's body: head and chest accelerations, forces at femur, lumbar spine and safety belts. Computational results were compared with the results of a previous experimental test that had been designed to verify the numerical model. The glider's cockpit was completely destroyed in the crash and the loads transferred to the pilot's body were very substantial - way over the permitted levels. Since modeling results are fairly consistent with the experimental test, the numerical model can be used for simulation of plane crashes in the future.

Open access

Lukasz Lindstedt, Jan Vychytil, Tomasz Dziewonski and Ludek Hyncik


The main aim of the presented research was to check mechanical response of human body model under loads that can occur during airplane accidents and compare results of analysis with some results of experimental tests described in literature. In simulations, new multi-purpose human body model, the VIRTHUMAN, was used. The whole model, as well as its particular segments, was earlier validated based on experimental data, which proved its accuracy to simulate human body dynamic response under condition typical for car crashes, but it was not validated for loads with predominant vertical component (loads acting along spinal column), typical for airplane crashes. Due to limitation of available experimental data, the authors focused on conducting calculations for the case introduced in 14 CFR: Parts 23.562 and 25.562, paragraph (b)(1), knowing as the 60° pitch test. The analysis consists in comparison of compression load measured in lumbar section of spine of the FAA HIII Dummy (experimental model) and in the Virthuman (numerical model). The performed analyses show numerical stability of the model and satisfactory agreement between experimental data and simulated Virthuman responses. In that sense, the Virthuman model, although originally developed for automotive analyses, shows also great potential to become valuable tool for applications in aviation crashworthiness and safety analyses, as well.