I want to see how different combination/position of fan on airplane affect stability of airplane.

I need simulator to test one of the idea which involves specific position for propeller on the plane. Before moving on to 3d print and test the model I need to see how aerodynamic affect my flying machine and if any kind of stabilization required at least in normal weather condition with uniform airflow.

I tried using the Ansys but it only shows the statistics with respect to lift, air flow directions, it does not actually simulate object flying. I need to see if idea even work, is there any good simulator for that? Or someone can give me reference in Ansys software that can allow me to achieve my purpose.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Have you thought about the flightSim games : code your model and see how it behaves? $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 17:43
  • $\begingroup$ The question is so broad that an answer would point in lecture books and simulation methodologies. I’d suggest the simpler path of trying x-plane or flight gear or similar flight simulation games. They do not do real flight mechanics analyses, but are sufficient to check if a plane configuration flies or not. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 31, 2018 at 10:17
  • $\begingroup$ Try AVL for configuration and stability of glider. It can't model propulsion details though. Adding propulsion (longitudinal force on a local region of slipstream) violates the assumptions that underpin all of these potential-based models. This is postdoc aero engineering stuff. $\endgroup$
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Apr 1, 2018 at 2:15
  • $\begingroup$ Try to look into VR (virtual reality) software that has an engineering lean. I remember MicroStation was able to simulate flying objects. $\endgroup$
    – r13
    Commented Dec 11, 2021 at 17:20
  • $\begingroup$ What tests would you like to do? Shear winds, Turbulence vs speed? side slip? Angular momentum? $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 8, 2022 at 20:14

1 Answer 1


I recommend researching a few different plane designs in terms of propeller(not fan) layout, and you'll most likely have your answer. AFAIK, a prop at the back is more efficient, a prop at the front makes the plane more stable, since airflow is directed over the wings.

You also have to consider engine location and weight distribution. It's extremely important for aerial vehicles. I wouldn't advice you to reinvent the wheel, learning from existing plane models is most likely giving you more chance of success.

That being said, i'm satisfied with the flow simulation in SolidWorks. Depending on your situation, you may be able to obtain a student license for it. I also recommend asking at the Aviation section of this forum. They'll most likely have treated questions like yours before.


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