New Video from Flomerics and Matchstick Productions Explains Human Flight in Wingsuits

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Flomerics Engineering Fluid Dynamics software used in wingsuit airflow simulation

Flomerics and Matchstick Productions have released a video, available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q09fO5SqHIo, which for the first time reveals the complex 3D airflow around a wingsuit that enables a human being to glide through the air like a bird.

The video combines actual footage of human flight in wingsuits with airflow simulations using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software. The actual wingsuit flight segments come from the film "Seven Sunny Days" by Matchstick Productions. Flomerics' Engineering Fluid Dynamics (EFD) family of CFD software was used to calculate the fluid flows and pressures that produce lift and drag forces enabling wingsuit fliers to glide with an extraordinary level of control which allows them to trace the contours of rock ledges and other obstacles from just a few feet away.

The wingsuit flier enters a freefall wearing both a wingsuit and a parachute and typically flies at speeds of about 60 mph (95 km/h). He manipulates the shape of his body to balance the aerodynamic forces and create the desired amount of lift and drag, finally landing by deploying his parachute.

Flomerics' EFD 3D simulation software made it possible to use 3D computer aided design (CAD) geometry directly to represent the human body. Flomerics engineering design services team added thin shell elements between the arms and torso and between the legs to create a model of a human wearing a wingsuit. The ability to use the 3D CAD model directly was a key advantage in this analysis because of the need to model different arm, leg and hand positions in order to understand the extraordinary maneuverability of wingsuit fliers.

EFD's ability to integrate CFD into the design process allows design engineers to focus on the physics of the problem, which in most cases they already understand well, and generate results much more quickly. This makes it possible for design engineers to get reliable answers, gain insight, and deliver tangible results that lead to improvements in product performance, lower costs and reductions in time to market.

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Dr. Mike Reynell
Flomerics
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