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The University of Southampton

SESA6073 Powered Lift

Module Overview

This module introduces the students to VSTOL aircraft, including rotary wing aircraft, in particular the single main and tail rotor configuration.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The methodology of the performance assessment of a VSTOL configuration and demonstrate an in-depth awareness of the contrast with conventional aircraft
  • The manner in which the basic rules of aerospace engineering apply to VSTOL configurations
  • How advanced analytical techniques can be used to investigate all types of air vehicle and provide an across-the-board viewpoint of the future direction of aerospace
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Undertake a full analysis and application of the VSTOL helicopter design process and the effect of these results of the many features of such an aircraft to ensure efficiency and safety of operation
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Break down complex engineering systems into sub components for analysis. Undertake the detailed tasks in VSTOL & helicopter design by understanding the interplay between the various sub-systems and the subsequent development and flight testing of the complete air vehicle
  • Study and learn independently
  • Solve problems systematically
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Calculate helicopter performance, rotor blade motion, helicopter trim, vibration alleviation, and ground resonance


Introduction to Rotorcraft (3 lectures) - Introduction to the basic performance parameters, limitations and configurations of rotorcraft. The Rotor in Hover, Axial, Forward Flight & Autorotative (12 lectures) - This provides an aerodynamic perspective of rotor systems in all applicable flight regimes. Mission Performance and Analysis (3 lectures) Dynamics of the Rotor and Individual Rotor Blades (6 lectures) - This covers the aeroelastic phenomena governing rotor and rotor blade operation. VSTOL Aircraft Trim (3 lectures) - This shows how the propulsion and aerodynamic components need to work in unison to provide stable and efficient flight. Tail rotors (2 lectures) - Study into the performance and limitations of tail rotors Rotor Speed Governing (1 lecture) Vibration - its Transmission, Origins and Reduction including Ground Resonance (4 lectures) - Rotating devices generate vibration characteristics which require suppression or isolation. This section shows the type of vibration that can be expected and how it can be controlled. It also permits the use of health monitoring systems which are at the forefront of modern aircraft design and operation. Design Case Study (1 lectures) Example Class (1 lecture)

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods will include 36 lectures. Learning activities include directed reading and problem solving.

Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Lecture Handouts. 

Simon Newman (1994). Foundations of Helicopter Flight. 

John Seddon and Simon Newman (2011). Basic Helicopter Aerodynamics. 

J.G. Leishmann (2006). ‘Principles of Helicopter Aerodynamics with CD Extra. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (120 minutes) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (120 minutes) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (120 minutes) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: FEEG1002 and MATH1054

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