Rotorcraft Aeromechanics M ENG5265

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Engineering
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course introduces the history of rotorcraft and describes the design features of contemporary helicopters.  It also introduces the fundamental ideas used for analysing rotors and goes on to develop a robust theoretical basis for the elementary rotorcraft design functions.


Two lectures per week

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements


Recommended Entry Requirements


Excluded Courses

ENG4XYZ Rotorcraft Aeromechanics 4




80% Written Exam, the students have to answer 4 questions of equal weight

20% Written Assignment

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The aim of this course is to provide students with a firm grasp and understanding of the principles of rotorcraft aeromechanics, through lectures, tutorials, computer-based simulations and development of computer codes.  The course describes the fundamentals of rotary-wing flight and equips the student with a robust theoretical basis for all the elementary rotorcraft design functions.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ describe the history and development of rotorcraft, and explain the special problems that they present;

■ explain the design features of contemporary helicopters including empennage, airframe, rotors, method of attaching blades to hubs;

■ analyse coupled blade equations of motion for feather, lag and flap (Euler method);

■ use equations to analyse simple blade behaviour in flap and lag, including lag dampers and effect of hinge offset on natural frequency;

■ apply and interpret the individual-to-multiblade transformation and blade element theory;

■ make calculations using simple momentum theory, non-uniform inflow and finite state wake models;

■ synthesise a generic flight mechanics model using standard methods;

■ develop simple trim solutions and consider modes of motion;

■ describe the context in which helicopters are operated (both civil and military);

■ describe the limitations in their operational capability in terms of fundamental aerodynamic and dynamic characteristics;

■ explain helicopter flight mechanics in terms of the ability to trim the aircraft in a range of flight conditions, analyse the stability of flight and the response to controls and atmospheric disturbances;

■ analyse aerodynamic and dynamic behaviour of helicopter rotor blades;

■ using a variety of analysis methods (e.g., momentum theory, blade element method, linear stability theory, eigenvalues/vectors, response solutions, analytic approximations) to explore, and evaluate helicopter flight mechanics;

■ use computer simulation to model and analyse the complex aeromechanics of helicopters;

■ write a technical lab report to industry standards;

■ develop computer-based simulations of simple systems.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must attend the degree examination and submit at least 75% by weight of the other components of the course's summative assessment.


Students should attend at least 75% of the timetabled classes of the course.


Note that these are minimum requirements: good students will achieve far higher participation/submission rates.  Any student who misses an assessment or a significant number of classes because of illness or other good cause should report this by completing a MyCampus absence report.