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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

MECH5740M Rotary Wing Aircraft

15 creditsClass Size: 75

Module manager: Dr Andrew Shires

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

Have successfully completed 3 years of a MEng degree within the School of Mechanical Engineering or alternatively should have been awarded at least a BEng Honours 2:1 degree with an average mark of 60%.


MECH1215Thermofluids 1
MECH1520Engineering Mathematics
MECH2620Vibration and Control
MECH2670Thermofluids 2
MECH3496Thermofluids 3
MECH3790Aerodynamics and Aerospace Propulsion
MECH3855Aerospace Flight Mechanics

This module is not approved as an Elective


Develop an understanding of the theory of vertical flight, design and analysis of helicopters, autogyros and other rotary wing aircraft and wind turbines, and gain an appreciation of the extra difficulties involved when the vehicle flow is cyclic in nature.

Learning outcomes
After successfully completing this course, student will be able to:
1. identify the different Rotorcraft configurations and layouts
2. estimate the performance of rotorcraft in:
a. Hover
b. Forward Flight
c. Vertcial descent
3. determine the equations of motion of the rotor blades
4. determine the loads on the rotor hub
5. estimate the performance of a wind turbine.
6. determining the stability characteristics of a helicopter.

Upon successful completion of this module the following UK-SPEC learning outcome descriptors are satisfied:

A comprehensive understanding of the relevant scientific principles of the specialisation (SM1m, SM7M)
Knowledge and understanding of mathematical and statistical methods necessary to underpin their education in their engineering discipline and to enable them to apply a range of mathematical and statistical methods, tools and notations proficiently and critically in the analysis and solution of engineering problems (SM2m)
A comprehensive knowledge and understanding of mathematical and computational models relevant to the engineering discipline, and an appreciation of their limitations (SM5m)
A critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights most of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of the specialisation (SM8M)
Understanding of engineering principles and the ability to apply them to undertake critical analysis of key engineering processes (EA1m)
Ability to identify, classify and describe the performance of systems and components through the use of analytical methods and modelling techniques (EA2)
Ability both to apply appropriate engineering analysis methods for solving complex problems in engineering and to assess their limitations (EA3m, EA6M)
Ability to use fundamental knowledge to investigate new and emerging technologies (EA5m)
Ability to extract and evaluate pertinent data and to apply engineering analysis techniques in the solution of unfamiliar problems (EA6m)
Ability to collect and analyse research data and to use appropriate engineering analysis tools in tackling unfamiliar problems, such as those with uncertain or incomplete data or specifications, by the appropriate innovation, use or adaptation of engineering analytical methods (EA7M)
Awareness that engineers need to take account of the commercial and social contexts in which they operate (EL9M)
Awareness that engineering activities should promote sustainable development and ability to apply quantitative techniques where appropriate (EL11M)
Apply their skills in problem solving, communication, information retrieval, working with others and the effective use of general IT facilities (G1)

Skills outcomes
On completion of this module students will have acquired the following skills:
- analytical
- problem solving
- mathematical derivations and solutions.


1. Introduction to rotary wing aircraft
2. Rotorcraft configuration and layout
3. Conventional rotor systems
4. Hovering and vertical flight performance
5. Forward flight performance
6. Rotor blade aerodynamics in steady forward flight
7. Blade motion, dynamics and control of rotors
8. Loads on the rotor hub
9. Equations of motion of the rigid helicopter
10. Rotorcraft stability derivatives
11. Longitudional and lateral stability
12. Introduction to Aeroelasticity.
13. Wind turbines - Configurations and characteristics; Estimating wind resources; Estimating aerodynamic performance.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment12.002.00
Private study hours115.00
Total Contact hours35.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Students are to spend on average:
- 0.5 hour preparation/revision for each lecture (17 hours-total),
- approximately 50 hours of work for the one piece of coursework,
- 48 hours for the exam preparation and
- 2 hours to do the exam.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

An online discussion board will be monitored during specified times each week.
Minerva/TopHat quiz after each topic.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)30.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Unseen exam 2 hr 70.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)70.00

1) Coursework marks carried forward and 70% resit exam OR 2) 100% exam

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:55:00


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