Copyright © A. Filippone (2007). All Rights Reserved.


Igor I. Sikorski at the command of its contraption, the VS-300 (1941)

This course will deal with helicopters, and more broadly with that class of vehicle known as direct-lift aircraft, e.g. vehicles that derive most of their lift by the action of one or more propellers. This includes a vast class of VSTOL vehicles, such as the tilt-rotor and the autogyro.

This course deals with the fundamental principles of the helicopter technology and theory, and is recommended to all who have interest in complex vehicles.

The helicopter, unlike the fixed-wing aircraft, is made of more moving and flexible parts, and presents tremendous complications in the aerodynamics, dynamics and mechanics and performance of the rotor systems.

This course will be essentially a multi-disciplinary one, with theory of aerodynamic propulsion, on performance, dynamics and mechanical design.

Course Unit: MACE-31222

  • Level: 4
  • Credit rating: 10
  • Teaching Arrangements: 24 hours lectures
  • Degrees: Aerospace Engineering (B.Eng, M.Eng)

Course Outline

  • Introduction to Helicopter Technology
  • History of Helicopter Flight
  • Rotorcraft Typologies and Mission Profiles
  • Basic Aerodynamics and Rotor Systems
  • Aerodynamic Theory of the Rotor
    • Axial Momentum Theory
    • Blade Element Theory
    • Vortex Theories
  • Flight Analysis
  • Hover
  • Climb and Descent
  • Forward Flight
  • Critical Flight Modes: Autorotation and Vortex Ring
  • Range and Endurance
  • The Helicopter System
    • The main and tail rotor
    • Airframe and tail boom
    • Power Plants and gerabox
    • Blade Technology
  • Flight Dynamics


Please refer to the recommendadations given in the lectures. For further reference, please visit

NB: Some, but not all, notes and handouts will be distributed during the course.


  • 2 hour closed-books exam at end of the year, 80 %
  • Mid term assignment, 20 %

NB: Date and place of the exam is set by the undergraduate during the year.

Course Work Policy

  • All course work is to be submitted within 3 weeks from the date of the assignement
  • Course work submitted after deadline will not be marked.
  • Extension of the deadline can be granted, but only on a case-by-case basis
  • The report must be submitted directly to Dr. Filippone, before or after lectures
  • Reports cannot be submitted via email or fax

Seeking Help

  • The instructor will be available to answer students questions after each lecture or tutorial.
  • The instructor is available for questions in his office by appointment only

Rules of Conduct in the Class Room

  • Mobile telephones are to be switched off at all times.
  • Students are expected to be punctual and lectures to start on time.
  • Silence is expected from the students.
  • Background noise will not be tolerated.
  • Horseplay and willful misconduct have no place in the class room.
  • No Eating, No drinking

Dr A. Filippone
The University of Manchester
School of Mechanical, Aerospace, Civil Engineering
George Begg Building
Office C-39
Manchester M60 1QD
United Kingdom

Phone (+44) 161- 306 3702 (direct)

Copyright © A. Filippone (2007). All Rights Reserved.