Nonlinear Blade Stability for a Scaled Autogyro Rotor at High Advance Ratios

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Despite current research advances in aircraft dynamics and increased interest in the slowed rotor concept for high speed compound helicopters, the stability of autogyro rotors remains partially understood, particularly at lightly-loaded conditions and high advance ratios. In autorotation, the periodic behavior of a rotor blade is a complex nonlinear phenomenon, further complicated by the fact that the rotor speed is not held constant. The aim of the analysis presented in this article is to investigate the underlying mechanisms that can lead to rotation-flap blade instability at high advance ratios for a teetering autorotating rotor. The stability analysis was conducted via wind tunnel tests of a scaled autogyro model combined with numerical continuation and bifurcation analysis. The investigation assessed the effect of varying the flow speed, blade pitch angle and rotor shaft tilt relative to the flow, on the rotor performance and blade stability. The results revealed that rotor instability in autorotation is associated with the existence of fold bifurcations, which bound the control-input and design parameter space within which the rotor can autorotate. This instability occurs at a lightly loaded condition and at advance ratios close to 1 for the scaled model. Finally, it was also revealed that the rotor inability to autorotate was driven by blade stall.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of the American Helicopter Society
Issue number1
Early online date20 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Autogyro
  • Autorotation
  • Stability
  • bifurcation
  • high advance ratio
  • Nonlinear Dynamics


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