The Comprehensive Short Course in Rotary Wing Technology set for August 10–14 will be held as a virtual conference as part of Penn State’s efforts to maintain public health and safety in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. For the latest updates and information, visit:

Session Descriptions


Helicopter and tilt-rotor dynamics, coupled rotor/fuselage vibrations
R. Blackwell

  • Dynamics refresher (natural frequencies and forced response)
  • Articulated rotor dynamics (flap, lag, torsion, etc.)
  • Types of rotors
  • Isolated rotor stability
  • Coupled rotor airframe stability
  • Aircraft vibration
  • Vibration control approaches
  • Design support and testing
  • Recent research and development

History and Aerodynamics

Brief helicopter history and introduction to helicopter aerodynamics and dynamics
G. Leishman

  • What is a helicopter and what does it do
  • Summary of capabilities and limitations
  • Introduction to other types of rotary wing aircraft
  • Helicopter history
  • Momentum theory and helicopter performance
  • Hovering flight
  • Axial (vertical flight)
  • Forward flight
  • Autorotation
  • Ground effect
  • Blade element theory
  • Vortex theories and CFD
  • Convertible rotors and proprotors
  • Autogyros
  • MAVS

Stability, Control, and Handling Qualities

Handling qualities, automatic control
R. M. McKillip

  • Introduction, definitions, and scope
  • Rotor control features
  • Rotorcraft flight dynamics (equations of motion, linearization and stability derivatives, modes of response)
  • Handling qualities (metrics for evaluation, specifications)
  • Automatic flight control
  • Higher complexity modes
  • Rotor and wake dynamics
  • Real-time simulation

Composite Structures

Helicopter composite structures, material properties
D. Pullman

  • Introduction
  • Analysis part I and part II
  • Design for fabrication
  • Fabrication methods
  • Full-scale testing
  • FAA certification
  • Examples


Propulsion and drive systems
R. Bill

  • Overview of rotorcraft propulsion
  • Major elements of propulsion system
  • Impact of performance
  • Power requirements
  • Propulsion configurations
  • The engine
  • Cycle comparisons
  • Gas turbine engine aerocomponents (compressor, turbine)
  • Mechanical components
  • Power transmission and engine control


Main rotor/tail rotor acoustics, noise interactions, operational impacts
K. Brentner

  • Fundamentals of acoustics
    • Key acoustics concepts
    • Aspects of sound propagation
    • Human response to sound
    • Noise certification
  • Overview of helicopter noise
  • Acoustic theory
    • Lighthill’s acoustic analogy
    • Ffowcs Williams – Hawkings equation
    • Farassat’s integral formulations
  • Review of prediction state of the art
  • Recent developments in helicopter noise prediction
    • Maneuver noise
    • High-speed-impulsive noise
    • Noise abatement procedures
    • eVTOL and Urban Air Mobility noise