TU Delft
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2016/2017 Aerospace Engineering Master Aerospace Engineering
Helicopter Performance, Stability and Control
Responsible Instructor
Name E-mail
Dr. M.D. Pavel    M.D.Pavel@tudelft.nl
Contact Hours / Week x/x/x/x
Education Period
Start Education
Exam Period
Course Language
Expected prior knowledge
Aircraft performance
Flight dynamics
Week Arrangement
Lecture and study material
1. Lay-out of the helicopter. Qualitative description of the rotor
and control systems. Definition of the tip plane, control
plane, hub plane and several co-ordinate systems. Blade
element analysis of hoever performance.
2. Performance calculations of vertical flight. Turbulent Wake
State. Autorotation. Performance calculations in forward
flight. Blade element analysis. Glauert’s hypothesis.
Comparison with performance of fixed wing aircraft.
3. Flapping dynamics of centrally hinged rotors. Equations
of motion of helicopter with only pitch degree of freedom.
Stability and control.
4. Flapping dynamics in forward flight. Symmetric equations of
motion. Stability and control in forward flight.
5. Trim conditions, linearised equations of motions.
Representation in the complex plane and comparison with
fixed wing aircraft.
6. Influence of semi-rigid rotorsystems on the equations of
motion and on the characteristic handling characteristics.
7. Flap/Torsion blade dynamics. Divergence. Classical blade
flutter, Structural lay-up to avoid flutter. Introduction to
ground resonance instability.
Course Contents
General lay-out of helicopters, performance calculations
during hover, vertical climb and descent and forward flight.
Helicopter blade dynamics. Introduction to helicopter control
characteristics: symmetrical equations of motion handling- and
control properties. Introduction to aeroelasticity of rotorcraft.
Study Goals
1. An example of the synthesis of a large diversity of subject areas, aimed at the analysis of a complicated technical object.
2. Introduction to aerodynamics, flight mechanics and
aeroelasticity of helicopters, which enables the student to
independently study more advanced literature.
Education Method
Online lectures and video's; Readings; Discussion fora
Literature and Study Materials
"Helicopter performance, Stability and Control", reader AE4-213, 2002, Fac. L&R
"Basic Helicopter Aerodynamics" by John Seddon& Simon Newman, Blackwell Science, 2002
"Principle of Helicopter Aerodynamics", Gordon Leishman, Cambridge Aerospace Series, 2000
Different assignments during week arrangement and a final written report
Online education