The project InSiDE (Industrialized Simulation of Ditching Events) is concerned with the analysis of water emergency landing of commercial aircraft. The objectives of the project are the industrialization and the further development of a imulation procedure for analyzing ditching events of aircraft.

Aircrafts must also be capable to land safely on open water in case of emergencies. The issue is of fundamental importance to aircraft manufacturers, who must demonstrate for aircraft certification that the occupants will not be harmed during the water landing and that the fuselage damage remains small enough that sufficient floatation time remains for the evacuation. The procedures used to prove this must be approved by the airworthiness authorities, but do not have to be certified, and allow service providers to be involved.

The object of the project is the industrialization (WP1) and further development (WP2) of an officially approved simulation procedure for analyzing the ditching behavior of commercial aircraft and its integration into the design process (WP3). In particular, computational models for fluid-structure interaction in two-way coupling will be used for further development. These models will allow a comprehensive analysis of critical sections, including global and local structural deformations, and will be setup and validated with higher-order coupled simulation techniques (FEM, multiphase CFD). In addition, models to account for handling effects (trim, ground effect aerodynamics, etc.) will be integrated. The procedure should enable design investigations in the early design phase and operate in near real-time.

Industrial practice is currently limited to experimental investigations for rigid model bodies, the results of which are difficult to transfer to full-scale design. The constructive or operational minimization of the risk associated with high ditching loads is increasingly becoming a focus of the design process. This requires more accurate analysis tools that can be used in the early design phase. From discussions with manufacturers, it appears that authorities are likely to push for simulation-based ditching certification with fluid-structure coupling soon. Therefore, the desire for a simulation tool is frequently expressed to service providers.

As a result, it should be possible to analyze and optimize the ditching capability of commercial aircraft in a process-compatible manner by means of cross-disciplinary, simulation-based approaches using an industrialized tool. Examples are the definition of breakaway loads for engine attachments, the clever design of landing gear niches, drag bodies or energy-absorbing elements for the local absorption of hydrodynamic loads. Furthermore, the general safety level is to be further improved by incorporating innovative, scientifically based methods and findings. In addition, it should be possible to make statements for local failure or the degree of damage, also in order to identify the risk of water penetration more reliably. Based on the damage information, the subsequent analysis of the floating phase can be performed in future research projects. Furthermore, the understanding of the interaction of approach and handling conditions, motion, structural loads and structural response should reveal potentials in the design of ditching procedures and render the certification more efficient.


The following partners contribute to INSIDE

  • Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), Institute for Fluid Dynamics and Ship Theory (M8), Am Schwarzenberg-Campus 4 (C), 21073 Hamburg

  • German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Structures and Design, Pfaffenwaldring 38-40, 70569 Stuttgart

  • IBK Innovation GmbH & Co. KG, Standort Hamburg, Butendeichsweg 2, 21129 Hamburg

This project receives funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy LuFo VI-1 under grant agreement no 20Q1951A.