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Basic Helicopter Aerodynamics, 3rd Edition



Basic Helicopter Aerodynamics, 3rd Edition

John M. Seddon, Simon Newman

ISBN: 978-0-470-66501-5 August 2011 286 Pages

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Basic Helicopter Aerodynamics is widely appreciated as an easily accessible, rounded introduction to the first principles of the aerodynamics of helicopter flight. Simon Newman has brought this third edition completely up to date with a full new set of illustrations and imagery. An accompanying website contains all the calculation files used in the book, problems, solutions, PPT slides and supporting MATLAB® code.

Simon Newman addresses the unique considerations applicable to rotor UAVs and MAVs, and coverage of blade dynamics is expanded to include both flapping, lagging and ground resonance. New material is included on blade tip design, flow characteristics surrounding the rotor in forward flight, tail rotors, brown-out, blade sailing and shipborne operations.

Concentrating on the well-known Sikorsky configuration of single main rotor with tail rotor, early chapters deal with the aerodynamics of the rotor in hover, vertical flight, forward flight and climb. Analysis of these motions is developed to the stage of obtaining the principal results for thrust, power and associated quantities. Later chapters turn to the characteristics of the overall helicopter, its performance, stability and control, and the important field of aerodynamic research is discussed, with some reference also to aerodynamic design practice.

This introductory level treatment to the aerodynamics of helicopter flight will appeal to aircraft design engineers and undergraduate and graduate students in aircraft design, as well as practising engineers looking for an introduction to or refresher course on the subject.

Related Resources

About the Authors.

Preface to First Edition.

Preface to Second Edition.

Preface to Third Edition.




1 Introduction.

1.1 Looking Back.


2 Rotor in Vertical Flight: Momentum Theory and Wake Analysis.

2.1 Momentum Theory for Hover.

2.2 Non-dimensionalization.

2.3 Figure of Merit.

2.4 Axial Flight.

2.5 Momentum Theory for Vertical Climb.

2.6 Modelling the Streamtube.

2.7 Descent.

2.8 Wind Tunnel Test Results.

2.9 Complete Induced-Velocity Curve.

2.10 Summary Remarks on Momentum Theory.

2.11 Complexity of Real Wake.

2.12 Wake Analysis Methods.

2.13 Ground Effect.

2.14 Brownout.


3 Rotor in Vertical Flight: Blade Element Theory.

3.1 Basic Method.

3.2 Thrust Approximations.

3.3 Non-uniform Inflow.

3.4 Ideal Twist.

3.5 Blade Mean Lift Coefficient.

3.6 Power Approximations.

3.7 Tip Loss.

3.8 Examples of Hover Characteristics.


4 Rotor Mechanisms for Forward Flight.

4.1 The Edgewise Rotor.

4.2 Flapping Motion.

4.3 Rotor Control.

4.4 Equivalence of Flapping and Feathering.


5 Rotor Aerodynamics in Forward Flight.

5.1 Momentum Theory.

5.2 Descending Forward Flight.

5.3 Wake Analysis.

5.4 Blade Element Theory.


6 Aerodynamic Design.

6.1 Introductory.

6.2 Blade Section Design.

6.3 Blade Tip Shapes.

6.4 Tail Rotors.

6.5 Parasite Drag.

6.6 Rear Fuselage Upsweep.

6.7 Higher Harmonic Control.

6.8 Aerodynamic Design Process.


7 Performance.

7.1 Introduction.

7.2 Hover and Vertical Flight.

7.3 Forward Level Flight.

7.4 Climb in Forward Flight.

7.5 Maximum Level Spread.

7.6 Rotor Limits Envelope.

7.7 Accurate Performance Prediction.

7.8 A World Speed Record.

7.9 Speculation on the Really Low-Drag Helicopter.

7.10 An Exercise in High-Altitude Operation.

7.11 Shipborne Operation.


8 Trim, Stability and Control.

8.1 Trim.

8.2 Treatment of Stability and Control.

8.3 Static Stability.

8.4 Dynamic Stability.

8.5 Hingeless Rotor.

8.6 Control.

8.7 Autostabilization.


9 A Personal Look at the Future.

Appendix: Performance and Mission Calculation.


“In summary, this greatly improved edition is going to be of interest to all those young people wishing to embark on the understanding of the helicopter, without the fuss of too much detail and too much theory.”  (Aeronautical Journal, 1 August 2013)

Basic Helicopter Aerodynamics Visit the companion website to access all the calculation files used in the book, problems, solutions and Powerpoint slides.