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Minimum Loss Load, Twist, and Chord Distributions for Coaxial Helicopters in Hover

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This paper presents an approach for determining the optimal (minimum power) geometry of a hovering coaxial rotor using blade element momentum theory, including swirl. The analysis accounts for the presence of a finite number of blades using the Prandtl tip loss factor, the effect of profile drag using experimentally or computationally determined drag polars, and the mutual interference between the two rotors using an empirically determined influence coefficient method. Numerical results show that including the induced swirl in the model decreases the optimal figure of merit and that swirl has a larger impact at higher disk loadings. At the disk loadings typically found on helicopters, the effect of swirl is relatively small, particularly compared to mutual rotor interference or tip losses. Additionally, accounting for swirl affects the optimal rotor design near the blade root, at locations that would often be part of the root cutout of a realistic rotor.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2017

This article was made available online on December 9, 2016 as a Fast Track article with title: "Minimum Loss Load, Twist, and Chord Distributions for Coaxial Helicopters in Hover".

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

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