Golden Eagles Gliding Faster


The impressive performance of the German Paralympics Ski-Team - with 14 medals won during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver - requires team spirit, individual strength and discipline.

These primary virtues are supplemented by access to advanced skiing gears and the possibility of professional performance analysis.

Fig. 1: Georg Kreiter investigating his position (picture courtesy of DLR).

TUHH supports the German Paralympics Downhill-Ski-Team with aerodynamic expertise and wind tunnel studies. The studies are concerned with an assessment of the wind loads on the athletes and their equipment. Emphasis is given to  drag force, lift force and pitching moment exposed on the athletes when gliding at speeds up to 130kph.



Fig. 2: Martin Braxenthaler (left), the German coach Maike Hujara (centre; courtesy of DLR) and the research team during the wind-tunnel campaign (right; courtesy of DLR).

Figure 3 provides an example for the evolution of the drag-force coefficient obtained for one specific athlete. Position 1 refers to an upright gliding posture, position 2 to a normal ride posture and position to an aggressive ride posture, respectively.

Fig. 3: Evolution of the drag-force coefficient for 3 positions of the same athlete.


The project is performed in collaboration with the DLR Inst. for Aerodynamics and Flow Technology (Prof. A. Dillmann) and sports scientists from Göttingen Univ. (Prof. A. Niklas) and the coach of the German-Paralympics-Ski-Team (M. Hujara).


Dipl.-Ing. Thierry Maquil
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Rung