Short Course on Rotorcraft Modeling

Short Course on Rotorcraft Modeling
Presented by Mark E. Dreier, AVX Aircraft

Mark Dreier (portrait)This course reprises the presenter's 2010, 2013 and 2017 AHS Forum short courses on rotorcraft modeling, which are based on his AIAA textbook, Introduction to Helicopter and Tiltrotor Flight Simulation.

This Short Course on Rotorcraft Modeling will present in a palatable way the fundamentals of rotorcraft and the special analyses we need to understand these exciting aircraft. Designed especially for the new or recent graduate and for the professional who wants a refresher, we will talk about the “what” of rotorcraft, and then the “how” of analyzing them.

The morning session begins with a fun review on rotorcraft configurations and the analysis challenges that each configuration presents followed by a fun quiz designed to seek and destroy some popular myths about rotorcraft. A deep dive into the basic models used in our industry includes hands-on memory joggers for axis systems, transformations, statics and dynamics, plus easy to understand code examples using the popular Matlab® programming language. We will emphasize the important difference between inertial and aerodynamic velocity, the rules for generating each and the consequences of their use. Finally, we will talk about what it means to be trim and how to achieve static and periodic trim.

After lunch, graduates of our morning session will plunge into a sharply focused exploration of modeling rotors. We will look blade dynamics, rotor aerodynamics and wake modeling – each aspect affects the other two, and understanding their mutual force on each other is vital to getting the model right. However, just as important as the physics is the method by which we solve the problems we build for ourselves. Again, we will rely on a much improved but simplified computer model of a rotor coded using the Matlab® language. The model features independent flapping and lead-lag hinges for each blade, a three-state wake, and an arbitrary number of blades and radial stations. We will also look at some special problems of interest including the use of the Vortex Ring Model to investigate ground effect and the mutual interference of co-axial rotors.

This will be an ambitious day, but when the user finishes, he or she will come away with a solid introduction to rotor analysis and some useful tools. The course material includes all lecture notes and demonstration programs, in some cases including the source code. The course fee also includes a copy of the presenter’s AIAA text “An Introduction to Helicopter and Tiltrotor Flight Simulation” (only those who pre-register — not available for those who register onsite).

About the Presenter:

Mr. Mark Dreier holds a B.S. and M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Pennsylvania State University. He has been involved in the simulation of helicopters, tiltrotors and wind turbines for over forty years, and is presently a consultant for AVX Aircraft Company in Benbrook, Texas and an adjunct instructor at the University of Texas at Arlington. Mark is a Technical Fellow of AHS International, a recipient of the AIAA de Florez award for Flight Simulation and a fixed-wing pilot with 400+ hours.