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Aerodynamic Analysis of a Helicopter in Steady Maneuvering Flight Using a Free‐Vortex Rotor Wake Model

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The aerodynamics of a helicopter undergoing steady‐state maneuvers has been studied using a free‐vortex model of the rotor wake. The wake model is based on a finite‐difference approximation to the vorticity transport equation, and is solved using a pseudo‐implicit relaxation method. It is shown that, in both hover and forward flight, maneuvers are a source of additional distortion to the vortical rotor wake. This wake distortion can he sensitive to the maneuvering rates. In hover and low speed forward flight, the maneuver induced wake distortion manifests as a counter intuitive change in inflow velocity through the rotor. This suggests that the free wake dynamics during pitching and rolling maneuvers may manifest as a contributor to the ‘off‐axis’ blade flapping response. At higher advance ratios, the effects of maneuver induced wake distortions are still present, but are reduced by about half relative to the hover condition. The results provide guidelines as to the importance of the main rotor wake in predicting the rotor flapping response during maneuvers.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Aerospace Engineering, Glenn L. Martin Institute of Technology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742.

Publication date: April 1, 1999

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  • The Journal of the American Helicopter Society is the world's only scientific journal dedicated to vertical flight technology. It is a peer-reviewed technical journal published quarterly by AHS International and presents innovative papers covering the state-of-the-art in all disciplines of rotorcraft design, research and development. (Please note that AHS members receive significant discounts on articles and subscriptions.)

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    Authors can find submission guidelines and related information on the AHS website.

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