Parametric Aircraft Modelling Plugin

Hi everyone,

Wanted to share my work that I’ve been doing for my school thesis. The project itself is completed although I am still finishing the writeup for the thesis itself. I wanted to release it to the public in hopes that maybe there will be some bug detection or to get some feedback etc etc…

Here is the link to the domain I am working with including all information and a brief tutorial although I tried to make it as user friendly as possible:

Feel free to use it as desired, feedback and acknowledgement is appreciated

Here is a gif of the plugin in action followed by a brief tutorial:

Step 1: Download
All files needed to generate the aircraft body are contained in the archives section and among the various tabs of the URL: Parametric Aircraft Building Plug-in for Rhino. The user should begin by downloading the full package on the home tab of the website by clicking the download button in Figure 4 1. After the download is complete, it should be opened and unzipped by clicking on file denoted by the number 2 shown below.

Step 2: Installation
After download of the full software package is complete, the plugin must be implemented into Rhino. This can be done by simply double clicking or running the file called ‘ParametricAircraftBuilder.rhi’. The screen shown in Figure 4 2 should come up.

After selection either of the options above, clicking next with complete the installation and the command should be implemented into Rhino. A restart of Rhino may be required after installation.

Step 3: Running the Command
The third and final step is to run the command in Rhino. This is done by using the command ‘AutoAircraftBody’ on the Rhino console at the top of the screen shown in Figure 4 3.

After the command is entered, the parameter selection screen will open. Selecting a valid text file created from the download template inside of the unzipped folder and selecting OK should generate the full aircraft body. If the parameter file is not created from the template form or is not following the form shown in the readme, an error will be thrown.
The full aircraft should generate and give a generation time. After this process is followed, the installation step should not have to be repeated as the plugin should be installed into Rhino and remain there until either overridden or deleted.

It would be nice to see examples uses sent to me and I could hopefully incorporate a gallery.
Thanks for the support :slight_smile:


Wonderful work!!!
Every parameter is contained inside a single .txt file?
How do you alter those parameters? By manually opening the .txt file and editing them?
It would be nice if all these parameters could be edited inside of Rhino (from a single window). Still the project looks great!

Thank you!
Yep, there is a template available that gives the full list of commands that the user will fill out and then select with the command.

The reason I did it that way is because there is over 60 parameters and it would seem crazy to make the user retype them with each generation

Hi Steven,

Thank you for the reply.
I was thinking of maybe using a single command (say: “AircraftParameters”) to open a window which will enable users to type/change some of the default parameters.
If it’s too much to have all these parameters in a single window, then the window may have 6 separate tabs for each parameter category.

But again, the project still looks amazing!!

Thanks for sharing it with us!

I thought about something like that. At the very least I could still have some type of file that gets loaded in this window to make filling them all in a bit easier.
Thanks for the suggestion

1 Like

Looks nice - I am yet to try. I will let you know.
You can advance it further to generate military aircraft modelling.
I have ‘Aero Pack’ by Darcorp, USA - a good one, but has a steep learning curve.
Have a look.
I know one of your teachers, Prof. Aditi Chaatopadhyaya - now lost touch. Please pass her my well wishes.
A. K. Kundu.

Need help. Double clicking is not opening. Please guide me with step by step procedure to get the plug-in inside Rhino 5.0.
Your tutorials will help - hope it comes soon.
Thanking you.

Ahh yes I had Dr Chaatopadhyaya last year for aircraft structures.

Which part are you double clicking? After the zip file is opened, there is a file inside called
ParametricAircraftBuilder.rhi - running this file should bring up the plugin installation.

edit: I added an excerpt from my thesis of the tutorial section at the top of the thread. Maybe that will help. Let me know if you got it to work, haven’t had any reports yet.


Looks intriguing.
Is there a way to import a set of airfoils for the wing or empennage surfaces ? Also, how difficult would it be to set up a V-tail instead of the standard cruciform tail you are currently generating ?

A basic airfoil is embedded in the code via an array of constants:

However, at 10 seperate control points, the user can edit the airfoil thickness, camber, chord, and incidence. Was hoping this was flexible enough while avoiding a string of constants input.

The tail x,y,z position and attritubes can be changed also. There is also a taper constant for the nose and tail. The V-tail would not be very hard to incorporate, although it isnt one of the parameters atm.

Sounds good. Have you seen OpenVSP ? I keep hoping some programming genius will turn it into a plug-in for Rhino :slight_smile:


Dear Steven,

Many thanks for your reply. My apology for this slight delay in my replying - medical reasons.

It looks like that finally I have succeeded - the attached file shows the your ‘Parametric Aircraft Modelling Plugin’ in Rhino. Now, what do I do next?

It just happened to be that I have become your teacher’s teacher for having her in undergraduate study. Now, as octogenarian, with due medical problems, I continue my interest in aeronautics. Published two books, one on aircraft designs (many inadvertent mistakes crept in) and recently the other on aircraft performance. Will it be possible get the papers you have published and when you get your Doctorate, a copy of your thesis? In case, I go for my next publication (to repair my slips in my first book) and if opportunity provides can I quote your work as reference in our book, with my ex-local colleagues as possible co-authors? Rhino has been an indispensable tool for me to create more than 300 figures in the two books. I have been with Rhino since its version 1.0 when it first came out. I just making classroom drawings only - not an expert to do complex modelling.

I think that your plugin has commercial prospects, if can be made to grow to a more user-friendly nurb based generalised plugin for Rhino in an affordable price. There is nothing in the market like what I am suggesting. I know that McNeel will be interested in such plugin. There is ‘Aeropack’ by DARcorp as plugin to Shark FX CAD - it is a good program with steep learning curve. Why not have look in it.

I wonder if this kind of personal email has any place in Rhino Forum as it is not serving the public except my request for getting some tutorial. Try to see that it is not in the Forum and me have you email.

Best wishes. Ajoy


I replied in a message if you’d like to check that.

As far as your issues with getting it running…
Now that the plugin is installed run the command called ‘AutoAircraftBody’

It should bring up an interface where you can test the sample file below,
Parameters_Sample.txt (2.1 KB)


Yep I believe I had seen this in the past. Seems like a great tool. Was trying to find a medium between flexibility and comprehensiveness but I wouldn’t mind taking a shot at bringing something like this to Rhino

That would be great if you could pull it off. Your program is a good starting point.



Got it - all working well - brilliant work, my compliments. I notice that the input format is for constant section fuselage. Can it be modified to deal with varying section fuselage, say for like simple small club flying aircraft (in my mind a military aircraft)? Wing and empennage can be handled in the existing template format. Once this is achieved, there will be few more residual requests from me to broaden the scope to generate aircraft configurations.

Regards. Ajoy

That is something a colleague of mine is working on at this very moment. His focus is area ruling of the fuselage for more military based aircraft. It is something that could be incorporated though. Possible percentage widths or heights as inputs?


Nice to hear from you with good news of your intention.

Area ruling is an aerodynamic desirability, but design constraints may not allow smooth transition, especially to accommodate the side intakes. Moreover, you are possibly thinking of fuselage shaping only, the wing contribution is imposed on fuselage shaping.

I suggest that you go by section wise fuselage development which will make programing more difficult. Then may split fuselage conveniently into three to four sections.

In the example of fuselage in three sections, the nose cone and rear fuselage will have relatively smooth contour (some adjustment for twin engine). The mid fuselage may give problem to get canopy and side intakes.

Best will be to make laborious section by section inputs in the template that will give a more accurate shape.

Have you explored ‘Aeropack’ by Darcorp? This is a plug-in for Shark FX CAD package.

I would like to follow your progress. Please keep me informed.
Regards. Ajoy

Sorry about the late reply,

Yes area ruling is a problem that the colleague has only begun to look at in the context of automatic modeling or parametrically. Im assuming he is only refining the shape of the fuselage, although this might be dependent on wing cross section area as well.

Im also assuming that the input would conisist of numberous area inputs along the fuselage section as so to give user maximum flexibility.

I saw info about the ‘Aeropack’ but have not used it myself.

The thesis writeup is coming along very nicely. I will be sure that you get to look it over. Thanks for all the feedback.

Dear Steven,
I was thinking about your interesting project - it has good commercial potential for you.
I am not surprised to see that you are finding difficult in automatic fuselage modelling as combat aircraft is of complex shape. It will require several cross-section line generations - say about 12 of them - not many. I suggest the following for fuselage generation:

  1. Separate the side intakes from the fuselage and draw them separately
  2. Split fuselage conveniently in three to four sections, e.g., (i) nose cone up to canopy kink, (ii) mid-section of the cockpit up to canopy end, (iii) the last section is the tail section, if smooth then only one section otherwise in two. If you examine the 5th generation fighters you may notice the twin engine aft fuselage is complex.
  3. Now do the side intake and position it in your input template.
  4. Use the property of symmetry, i.e. draw for half fuselage and then mirror it. Make sure the joining is seamless.
  5. Since wing and empennage are done separately and positioned in your input template. Users may make Boolean if they wish. Keeping separate will allow repositioning.
  6. For undercarriage - just position the wheels without the struts. Users will do the struts.
    Lastly examine the model and see what refinement is required.
    Try a simple case. The old Lockheed F104 Starfighter is a clean one. Its cross-sections images are available in the Internet, otherwise, I will supply.
    Let me know. Regards. Ajoy