AAE 51500: Rotorcraft Aerodynamics


Introduction to Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) concepts and configurations. Rotor kinematics. Momentum and blade element theory. Rotor wakes and noise. Airfoil design for rotorcraft. Introduction to CFD techniques, rotorcraft performance, and design.

Format: 3 hrs lecture per week.

Credit Hours: 3

Status: Graduate/Undergraduate

Offered: Fall & Spring

Pre-requisite:AAE 334


Course Instructor: A. Lyrintzis

Text: Stepniewski, W. Z. and Keys, C. N., Rotary Wing Aerodynamics, Dover Publications, 1984.

Assessment Method: Midterm Exam 40%, Homework, 35%, Final project 25%

Course Goal & Objectives:


To build the theoretical framework which will allow the student to solve simple engineering problems involving rotorcraft aerodynamics and give the student the basic understanding needed for further study in the rotorcraft area.

Objectives include developing abilities to:

Understand basic rotor kinematics

Use momentum theory and blade-element theory to evaluate rotor quantities

Understand rotorcraft wake and noise issues and recent CFD techniques

Complete a project (including writing a report and presenting it in class)

Necessary Background:

1. Undergraduate Mathematics

2. First course in aerodynamics (e.g. 334)

3. Ability to write a computer program


1. Introduction [1 week]

2. Momentum Theory [3 weeks]

3. Blade Element Theory [3 weeks]

4. Vortex Theory [2 weeks]

5. Airfoils for Rotary Wing Aircraft [1 week]

6. Helicopter Performance [1 week]

7. Current Topics on Helicopter Aerodynamics

(i.e., CFD techniques, helicopter noise, tiltrotors) [2 weeks]

8. Introduction to Helicopter Design [1 week]

9. Final Project Presentations [1 week]

Relation to Program Objectives:

This is a course in the area of aerodynamics. All course objectives contribute to the program objective of providing technical competence in aerodynamics (1). The ability to formulate and solve engineering problems (2a) is emphasized in the homework assignments and the projects. The ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing (2c) is covered in the final project. Professional conduct (2d), life-long learning (3) and society impact (4) are discussed by the instructor through anecdotal stories throughout the course.

Prepared by: A. Lyrintzis

Date: April 2, 2001