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ME40343: Advanced helicopter dynamics

[Page last updated: 03 August 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/23
Owning Department/School: Department of Mechanical Engineering
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: EX100
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Assessment detail data for this unit is currently being updated as a change has been approved. Updated assessment information will be published here shortly.
Supplementary Assessment:
ME40343 Reassessment Examination (where allowed by programme regulations)
Learning Outcomes: After successfully completing this unit the student will be able to:
* Describe the aerodynamic theory applicable to helicopter rotors; in particular momentum and blade element models as applied to helicopters in vertical and forward flight. Critically assess the limitations of these models.
* Describe the more advanced attributes of helicopter aerodynamics, e.g., tail rotor design, dynamic stall, high Mach flows etc.
* Critically review dynamic rotor systems.
* Discuss helicopter systems: power, stability, trim etc, and the justification for design choices.
* Estimate helicopter performance (efficiency, range etc.) and critically assess the limits of this estimate.

Aims: To provide knowledge and understanding of helicopter aerodynamics, systems, design and performance, and apply this to helicopter flight scenarios.

Skills: Problem solving; IT; numeracy; working independently; written communication.

Content: Background and History, Review of 2D Momentum Theory for axial and forward flight, Blade Element Theory, Tip Losses, Blade Structural Design, Blade Element Theory in Forward Flight, Optimal Tip Design, Tail Rotor Design, Dynamic Rotor Systems, Flight Control Systems, Rotor Induced Vibration, Aeroelastic Effects, Helicopter Performance and Range, Future Concepts and Research, Inverse-Problem: the Wind Turbine. Critical review of research publications related to helicopters.

Programme availability:

ME40343 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • UEME-AFM04 : MEng(Hons) Aerospace Engineering (Year 4)
  • UEME-AKM04 : MEng(Hons) Aerospace Engineering with Year long work placement (Year 5)


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2022/23 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2023/24 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2022/23.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
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