Helicopter Aerodynamics: Advanced Topics

The language of instruction is English.


Upon successful completion of the class, the students have a good understanding of the whole bandwidth of helicopter aerodynamics, as well as detailed knowledge of specific flow problems that limit the modern helicopter. This knowledge puts the students in a position to evaluate the aerodynamics of system components such as rotors and rotor blades. Therefore, this class complements the other classes offered in helicopter technology, specifically the helicopter design and architecture class and the flight dynamics class. In addition to the understanding of the complex flow physics of the rotor wake, the students will not only know about the various methods of rotor analysis, but they will also know how the wake flow is modeled and which (numerical) analysis is best suited for a certain problem.


Course content:

  • Aerodynamic design issues associated with helicopters (RFPs, mil vs. civ)
  • Rotor limits: compressibility effects, retreating blade stall, reverse flow, noise constraints, and what to do about it
  • Discussion of aerodynamic characteristics of rotor airfoils
  • Advanced rotor blade tip design and effect on blade aerodynamics and performance
  • Static and dynamic stall: physical description and modeling
  • Review of methods of rotor analysis (Momentum Theory, BEMT, numerical comprehensive analysis, etc.) and when to apply which method
  • Physical description and characteristics of rotor wakes: tip vortices, vortex sheets, etc.
  • Modeling of rotor vortical wakes (prescribed/free wake analysis, CFD), i.e., what is used in industry today
  • Discussion of aerodynamic interactional phenomena on rotorcraft (BVI, main-tail rotor and rotor-fuselage interactions, ground effect, etc.)

Colloquium Helicopter Aerodynamics

Exchange of ideas within the lectures content. Discussion of ideas and state of science and technology. The colloquium will be held in an individually agreed meeting.


Revision course Helicopter Aerodynamics

The revision course will be held before the examination. Details will be given in the lecture.