Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Operational Sciences

First Advisor

T. Glenn Bailey, PhD


The C-17 test and evaluation community has been testing different aircraft formation geometries in search of a configuration which minimizes paratrooper encounter with the wake vortices of upstream aircraft. This thesis develops a simulation tool that the C-17 test and evaluation community can utilize as an advanced risk assessment model to use on proposed formation geometries prior to live testing. The model is developed under the architecture of object-oriented simulation using MODSIM III and parallels similar efforts by the Aerodynamic Decelerator Technology community in creating object-oriented counterparts to already developed trajectory models of various degrees of freedom. This thesis develops the paratrooper object portion of the simulation model while the Petry thesis (1997) develops the C-17 aircraft and vortex objects. Once integrated with the Petry C-17 aircraft and vortex objects, and after verification and validation, the simulation model is applied to a simplified airborne operation scenario using the mean distance of paratrooper impact location to assembly areas and DZ dispersal distribution as MOEs for different aircraft formation geometries. Lateral separation is shown to have the most influence on both MOEs, while trail distance has minimal effects. For the airborne commander, this translates into operational parameters applicable to the choice of assembly areas and formation geometries. Further operational parameters of any significance are gained when coupled with the results from Petry on encounter rates between paratroopers and wake vortices where trail distance has a significant impact.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number