BTEC Unit 61 Advanced Turbine Rotary Wing Aircraft Mechanical and Flight Systems HND Level 5 Assignment Sample UK

Course: Pearson BTEC Level 5 Higher National Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering

This Level 5 Higher National Diploma course in Aeronautical Engineering focuses on BTEC Unit 61 – Advanced Turbine Rotary Wing Aircraft Mechanical and Flight Systems. The course delves into the historical development of rotary wing aircraft, the principles of flight, aerodynamic forces, and design features crucial for stability and control. Students will explore the unique challenges of rotary wing flight and gain the skills to analyze the atmosphere’s impact on aircraft operations. Successful completion of the unit equips students to comprehend and apply aerodynamic principles, investigate methods for controlling rotary aircraft, and ensure the efficient airflow around the rotary wing aircraft.

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Assignment Brief 1: Explore standard atmospheric properties and aerodynamic principles affecting flight of a rotary winged aircraft.

Standard Atmospheric Properties: A rotary-winged aircraft, like helicopters, operates within the Earth’s atmosphere, which exhibits certain standard properties:

  • Temperature: The temperature typically decreases with altitude at a lapse rate of approximately 6.5°C per 1,000 meters (3.5°F per 1,000 feet) in the troposphere.
  • Pressure: Atmospheric pressure decreases with altitude following an exponential decay, with approximately half the pressure occurring at 5,500 meters (18,000 feet) above sea level.
    Density: Air density decreases with increasing altitude due to reduced pressure and temperature.

Aerodynamic Principles Affecting Flight:

  • Lift: Lift is generated by the rotating blades of a rotary-winged aircraft (rotor). It is created due to the pressure difference between the upper and lower surfaces of the rotor blades. This lift force opposes the aircraft’s weight and allows it to stay airborne.
  • Thrust: Thrust is provided by the engine or motor that drives the rotor. It counteracts the aircraft’s drag and allows it to move forward or change altitude.
  • Drag: Drag is the resistance experienced by the aircraft as it moves through the air. It affects the aircraft’s speed and efficiency.
  • Torque: The rotor’s rotation creates a torque that tends to rotate the aircraft in the opposite direction. To counteract this torque, most rotary-winged aircraft use a tail rotor or a similar anti-torque system.

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Assignment Brief 2: Illustrate the nature and effect of forces of rotary wing aircraft directional flight control.

Rotary-wing aircraft utilize various control mechanisms to achieve directional flight control. These forces include:

  • Collective Pitch Control: The collective pitch control changes the pitch angle of all the rotor blades simultaneously. By increasing or decreasing the collective pitch, the pilot can control the total lift force generated by the rotor, resulting in ascent or descent.
  • Cyclic Pitch Control: The cyclic pitch control adjusts the pitch of the rotor blades as they rotate around the rotor hub. It enables the pilot to tilt the rotor disc and direct the aircraft’s movement left, right, forward, or backward.
  • Tail Rotor (Anti-Torque) Control: To counteract the torque produced by the main rotor, helicopters are equipped with a tail rotor. The tail rotor’s pitch can be adjusted to apply a force that opposes the main rotor’s torque, allowing the aircraft to maintain stable flight.

Assignment Brief 3: Explore rotary wing aircraft directional flight control.

  • Hovering: By balancing collective pitch and cyclic pitch control inputs, a rotary-wing aircraft can maintain a stable position in the air without any forward movement, a flight mode known as hovering.
  • Forward Flight: To initiate forward flight, the pilot tilts the cyclic control forward, which increases lift on the forward side of the rotor disc. This tilts the aircraft forward, and it starts moving in the desired direction.
  • Sideward Flight: By applying lateral cyclic control inputs, the pilot can move the aircraft left or right while maintaining a relatively constant heading.
  • Turning: To initiate a turn, the pilot uses the cyclic control to tilt the rotor disc in the desired direction of the turn. This increases lift on one side of the rotor, causing the aircraft to bank and turn.

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Assignment Brief 4: Investigate the nature of different rotary winged aircraft design variations and features

  • Single Main Rotor with Tail Rotor: This is a common design for helicopters, featuring a main rotor for lift and a tail rotor for anti-torque control.
  • Coaxial Rotor: Coaxial rotor helicopters have two rotors mounted one above the other on the same axis. They eliminate the need for a tail rotor and are often used in compact or military applications.
  • Tandem Rotor: Tandem rotor helicopters have two rotors placed one in front of the other. They provide enhanced lifting capabilities but are more complex than single rotor designs.
  • NOTAR (No Tail Rotor): NOTAR helicopters use a fan inside the tail boom to create a boundary layer control system that replaces the traditional tail rotor for anti-torque control. It offers reduced noise and improved safety.
  • Compound Helicopters: Compound helicopters incorporate additional forward thrust engines, such as propellers or jets, to enhance forward speed and efficiency.
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs): Rotary-wing UAVs have become increasingly popular for various applications, including reconnaissance, surveillance, and delivery services.

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