Modeling an aircraft on a flexible cable


I wish to model a certain system with the help of a physics simulation engine. In my search, I encountered several engines including PhysX. Currently, it is not clear whether PhysX will suit my requirements, therefore I have several questions. First I will describe my system and simulation requirements after which I pose my questions.

System description

The system consists of two components:

1. A flexible cable

2. An aircraft

The flexible cable is the connection between the ground and the aircraft (it is an airborne wind energy system). The cable’s length should be able to change (reeling). The aircraft will be modeled as a rigid body. Cables are often modeled as a series of lumped masses connected by spring-damper elements, or by inelastic joints. I wish to model a cable of a length of 300 meters by 5 (ideally more ~20) lumped masses. The cable elements and the aircraft are subjected to aerodynamic forces. Reeling is performed by the addition and removal of elements at the bottom of the cable.

Right now I am considering modeling the cable as a lumped-mass system through particle dynamics, thus ignoring the orientation of each lumped mass. This should reduce the computational complexity. However, I cannot find a system which combines particles with rigid bodies.

Summary of requirements
* The creation + destruction of cable elements/ particles.

* A connection between the aircraft + cable.

* External application of additional forces to each rigid body +/ particle during simulation.

* Access to information such as position and pose during simulation.

I have the following questions

* Can I use a combination of particles and a rigid body?

* If not, how could I best model this system?

* Could Nvidia PhysX be capable of simulating the system as fast as real-time and with a sufficient update rate >20Hz?

* Are there any other recommendations/ remarks?

I wish somebody can help me with finding an answer to these questions. Finding a simulation engine that meets the requirements will possibly enable further work in this field of research with the same engine.