HPC Cloud-based simulation of light-aircraft aerodynamics

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Pipistrel, a Slovenian light aircraft designer and manufacturer, uses CFD simulations during the design phase to understand air flow. Wind tunnel tests are expensive, so SME Pipistrel uses high-performance computers to simulate air flow accurately. This case study examines the cost-benefits, feasibility, and effectiveness of these simulations.

Start date: 01/07/2013

Duration in months: 18

Problem Description

SME's cannot use wind tunnel tests for aircraft design due to cost. Instead, they use HPC to simulate airflow accurately. Aerodynamic models require significant compute power and memory. Pipistrel's case study examines the cost-benefits, feasibility, and effectiveness of performing these simulations on a Cloud based HPC system.


Virtual prototyping


The challenge facing Pipistrel was to perform simulations of the flow over its aircraft which were sufficiently detailed to model real physical effects accurately. Such simulations require expensive computer resources which are normally beyond the means of an SME.

Innovation results

Pipistrel utilized Cloud-based HPC for higher fidelity simulations, providing accurate information on aircraft flight behavior. By using a large computer model for case studies, the company learned how to handle big computations on the HPC system. This allowed for more complex simulations in a reasonable time and offered a cost-effective solution for large simulations.

Business impact

Pipistrel estimates that using Cloud-based HPC simulations is 10 times cheaper than in-house systems, saving €30k annually compared to €300,000 for occasional aircraft air flow simulation.

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