Vertical Lift Network

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Mechanical Aerospace and Civil Eng

Abstract

This is network proposal that gathers all the national expertise in rotary wing systems: The Vertical Lift Network (VLN). The network addresses technical problems for a special class of vehicles powered by direct lift: conventional helicopters, compound helicopters, tilt-rotors, fan-in-wing vehicles, unmanned air vehicles powered by rotors.
It is recognised that no single academic institution has expertise and test facilities to take on these new challenges. Several initiatives in Europe (CleanSky, Horizon 2020, national research programmes in Germany, France, Italy, The Netherlands), the USA (NASA, Boeing, Sikorsky), Russia (TSAGI, MAI, KAI) and possibly also China (CARDC) could undermine the competiveness of the UK. Countries such as Japan (JAXA), Korea (KARI) are also gaining momentum. The proposal brings together expertise across the full spectrum of aerospace engineering, including aerodynamics, computational fluid dynamics, wind tunnel testing, aeroelasticity, aeroacoustics, materials, control systems, power systems, flight dynamics, handling qualities, and systems engineering. Due to this multi-disciplinarity, leading-edge research initiatives can only be addressed by pooling resources together to create critical mass. No single organisation has the know-how to address the upcoming technology challenges.
The academic network is to work closely with the industry and government stakeholders to identify the strategic directions of research in the next decade. Other key objectives include the promotion of scientific collaboration, the identification of the funding sources, training of students and scientific dissemination via an annual workshop.

Planned Impact

From an industrial perspective, particularly AgustaWestland, the VLN initiative offers the potential to:

1. Develop and maintain a universal roadmap for rotorcraft research and technology strategy.
2. Achieve greater coherence between low TRL research activity and higher TRL development programmes
3. Maximise the economic return on PV investment.
4. Provide an efficient forum for coordinating research and technology activity between the industry and the rotorcraft academic community in the UK.
5. Provide a unified rotorcraft research and technology community interface with the UK Aerospace Growth Partnership and the Aerospace Technology Institute.
6. Act as a strong advocate for rotorcraft research and achieve greater coordination in raising research funding from both national and international sponsors.
7. Identify, protect and maximise utilisation of strategic research and test facilities.
 
Description This academic network works closely with the industry (rotorcraft, general aviation, aerospace, engineering consultancies) and other government stakeholders (Innovate UK, Aerospace Technology Institute) to set the agenda for strategic research in the medium to long term. The VLN aims to establish a position of international leadership, to achieve critical mass and thus bid to large-scale projects that could not be carried out by any single University in the UK. Results obtained so far include: expansion of the network to include new industry partners (in the UK and overseas), several new awards (large and small) to various consortia including one or more VLN members, several publications (peer-review Journal papers, international conferences).
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Education
 
Description Professor Barakos was interviewedby the American Helicopter Society who wrote a 2-page piece on his outstanding contribution to research and education on the field of rotorcraft engineering.
Geographic Reach North America 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
 
Description A Novel Approach to Rotorcraft Simulation Fidelity Enhancement and Assessment, led by University of Liverpool
Amount £870,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P031277/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2017 
End 06/2020
 
Description Aero engine deteriorations due to sand and particulate ingestion
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Organisation Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2017 
End 07/2017
 
Description CDT in Materials for Demanding Environments
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Organisation Imperial College London 
Department EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2017 
End 09/2021
 
Description DSTL iCASE award
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Organisation Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2017 
End 09/2020
 
Description DSTL rotor design (led by Univ. Glasgow)
Amount £250,000 (GBP)
Organisation Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2017 
End 03/2020
 
Description Dynamic Analysis of Tilt-rotor Rig (Univ. Bristol main contractor)
Amount £125,000 (GBP)
Organisation Aircraft Research Association 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2015 
End 03/2016
 
Description Hypertilt (led by Univ. Glasgow)
Amount € 200,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Commission H2020 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 03/2015 
End 03/2017
 
Description NITROS - EU network of researchers with emphasis on aircraft safety (led by Univ. Glasgow)
Amount € 400,000 (EUR)
Funding ID 721920 
Organisation European Commission 
Department Horizon 2020
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 05/2017 
End 05/2021
 
Description Project "BladeSense"
Amount £2,200,000 (GBP)
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2017 
End 05/2020
 
Description Project "Locate"
Amount £2,500,000 (GBP)
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2017 
End 03/2020
 
Description Tilt-rotor aerodynamics
Amount £30,000 (GBP)
Organisation Aircraft Research Association 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2016 
End 06/2019
 
Description USAir Force Office of Science and Research (AFOSR) - Window on Science
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Organisation Airforce Office of Scientific Research 
Sector Public
Country United States
Start 04/2018 
End 05/2018
 
Title Tandem helicopter aeromechanics model 
Description Developed computer simulation model for tandem helicopters to be used in training for post-graduate students. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Post-graduate students are able to use professionally designed simulation program to evaluate engineering problems involving sophisticated flight platforms. 
 
Description Babcock International Group 
Organisation Babcock International Group
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Babcock International operates over 450 helicopters in the UK, Europe, Worldwide, offering critical services to the oil, gas, wind energy, along with a variety of commercial helicopter services, and air ambulance services in the UK (most notably, it is the owner, operator of the NWAA helicopters). Babcock International has been attracted by the activities of the VLN and wishes to enter into partnership to explore future projects and exploit the expertise of the project partners.
Collaborator Contribution The VLN will support Babcock International in improving helicopter operations, in understanding issues of flight critical situations. The VLN will provide technology awareness to maximise the potential of a fleet of 450 helicopters, potentially saving lives and money.
Impact No outputs yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description GARTEUR - Rotor wakes 
Organisation Polytechnic University of Turin
Department Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (DIMEAS)
Country Italy 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This is a European network exploring effects of rotor wakes in ground effect and around complex terrain, to establish the safety limits of helicopters operating near the ground.
Collaborator Contribution Partners have established representative test cases, industry requirements, produced some test data in the wind tunnel and some CFD calculations aimed at validation.
Impact Network ongoing, no outputs yet
Start Year 2015
 
Description Hybrid Air Vehicles 
Organisation Hybrid Air Vehicles Limited
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Partnership with Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) has been signed in early 2016 so that the company enters the network and contributes to the strategic directions of vertical lift research. HAV specialises in the design and manufacture of lighter-than-air vehicles that have important propulsion issues with propellers.
Collaborator Contribution HAV joins periodic meetings, which are held every 2-3 months at various locations in the UK.
Impact Not yet available
Start Year 2015
 
Description MURETEX 
Organisation Muretex Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Exchange of technical information in the field of control systems for rotorcraft.
Collaborator Contribution Muretex Ltd is a small consultancy company specialising in control systems for rotorcraft. They have requested to join the network and participate to our periodic meeints.
Impact Not yet available
Start Year 2015
 
Description Annual Post-Graduate Student Workshop, Shrigley Hall, May 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Annual post-graduate students workshop. This event takes places annually in a hotel. Students present their research to their peers, their supervisors, our industrial partners, and engage in technical discussions. The proceedings of this meeting are made available to all via our intranet or sharepoint, accessible from a public website. Typical attendance is 20-25 post-graduate students from across the UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.ukvln.net
 
Description Annual Post-graduate student workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact This was our annual post-graduate/PDRA workshop, where we showcase the latest research over two days, in the presence of industry (Leonardo, BAe Systems, Hybrid Air Vehicles, others), government departments (MoD, DSTL). This is followed by both formal and informal discussions on all matters of rotorcraft and vertical lift systems.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Industry Meeting, Leonardo Helicopters, February 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Meeting industry representatives to discuss funding for development of new class of full-scale unmanned rotorcraft, including funding from MoD/Industry. There was discussion how the VLN or member of the network could be involved in a bid for a project.

This was an Industry Briefing jointly given by Leonardo Helicopters and the MoD to the rotorcraft industry (SMEs and academia). The meeting began at 10.30 and continued till around 13.00. The purpose was to brief these stakeholders and present potential opportunities for engagement.The event took place at the BAWA conference centre in Bristol on 1st Feb.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Interview published in Research Fortnight 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interview with Journalist for the Funding Insight section of our website which looks at funding opportunities in more depth. There are interviews with researchers, applicants and funders to help others send in targeted applications and perhaps alert people to opportunities that they might otherwise not have considered. They run a "My Winning Proposal" article discussing your EPSRC grant. I've attached a couple of recent examples of what these kind of articles normally look like for your reference.

The reason I was contacted is that they run something of a series on "grand challenges" research at the moment, with part of that theme being about building networks and multidisciplinary teams to take on such problems. As such we decided to run a feature on the Network grants. Scrolling down the list of recent winners, the VLN project caught the Journalist's eye for purely personal reasons (his father was an air traffic controller). A special piece on the VLN was then published.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Meeting at Airbus, Filton, April 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Industry-government-ATI-academia meeting to discuss strategic directions of aerospace/aerodynamics research, meeting led by Airbus UK
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Meeting at Royal Aeronautical Society Headquarters, London, Dec. 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Meeting to discuss future directions of aerospace research, in particular addressing quality of publications in the sector.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description NATO_AVT 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact We [The University of Manchester] have taken part in AVT-213, which was "Assessment of Volcanic Ash Effects on Military Platforms"; we are now taking part in AVT-250 which is "Gas Turbine Engine Environmental Particulate Foreign Object Damage [EP-FOD] in Land, Sea and Air Vehicles". In both these research task groups, we are contributing knowledge on particle separators and helicopter engine degradation, and engaging with stakeholders input into standardised procedures. Meetings take place every 6 months.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description VLN Annual Workshop, Chester, April 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact This was a three-day scientific and technical workshop where post-graduate students from across the UK presented their research. The workshop included discussion panels, future research, strategic directions of the network. The workshop was held neat Chester.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description VLN Meeting and Workshop, University of Manchester, March 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact VLN meeting to discuss and agree on future funding strategies. Decided ways forward to develop research proposals.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description VLN Meeting, AgustaWestland, Yeovil, Somerset, June 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Periodic VLN meeting to discuss progress of the network, funding opportunities, directions of the industry, academic activities, training. Meeting chaired by industry representatives (AgustaWestland).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description VLN Meeting, Aircraft Research Association, November 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Progress on the network and progress with commissioning of the UK national rotor rig facility, meeting hosted by ARA, Bedford, Chaired by Leonardo Helicopters
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description VLN Meeting, August 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Updates on the network discussed at this meeting.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description VLN Meeting, Chester, April 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Periodic VLN meeting to discuss progress of the network, funding opportunities, directions of the industry, academic activities, training. Meeting chaired by industry representatives (AgustaWestland).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description VLN Meeting, Cranfield University, January 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Periodic VLN meeting to discuss progress of the network, funding opportunities, directions of the industry, academic activities, training. Meeting chaired by industry representatives (AgustaWestland).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description VLN Meeting, University of Bristol, October 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Periodic VLN meeting to discuss progress of the network, funding opportunities, directions of the industry, academic activities, training. Meeting chaired by industry representatives (AgustaWestland).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description VLN Meeting, University of Leicester, February 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Periodic VLN meeting to discuss progress of the network, funding opportunities, directions of the industry, academic activities, training. Meeting chaired by industry representatives (AgustaWestland).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description VLN Periodic Meeting, Leonardo Company, Yeovil March 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Periodic research meeting to assess strategy and forthcoming research proposals.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description VLN Periodic Meeting, London June 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Periodic VLN meeting to assess research strategy in the UK and forthcoming project proposals.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description VLN Periodic Meeting, London November 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Periodic VLN meeting to assess strategy on all rotorcraft research and industrial activities in the UK
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description VLN Training, Experimental Aerodynamics, University of Glasgow, February 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Two-day training course in experimental methods in aerodynamics for rotorcraft, held at the wind tunnel facilities of the University of Glasgow. Participants included post-graduate students from across the UK, a few under-graduate students, professionals from DSTL (MoD), and industry (Aircraft Research Association, ARA).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description VLN Training: Introduction to Rotorcraft Performance, Stability and Control (Manchester) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact This was two-day training course for post-graduate students from across the UK and Europe, held at the University of Manchester in February 2016.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description VLN meeting, Leonardo Helicopters (formerly AgustaWestland) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Networking meeting at Leonardo Helicopters (formerly AgustaWestland) to discuss advancements in the interests of the network, and future funding possibilities, including ongoing research proposals, accessing industry funds for the development of a new unmanned rotorcraft.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description VLN meeting, University of Glasgow, December 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Periodic VLN meeting to discuss progress of the network, funding opportunities, directions of the industry, academic activities, training. Meeting chaired by industry representatives (AgustaWestland).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description VLN meeting, University of Leicester, Nov. 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Periodic VLN meeting with all academic partners, industrial partners, MoD to discuss directions of the network, specifically funding strategies, on-going projects, under-graduate and postgraduate teaching matters.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description VLN student workshop, Shrigley Hall, Cheshire, May 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Annual post-graduate students workshop, where students in helicopter engineering from around the country presented their research to academics and their fellow students.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description VLN training: Introduction to Rotorcraft Aerodynamics (Glasgow) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Two day training course for post-graduate and doctoral students held the University of Glasgow.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description VLN training: flight simulation, University of Liverpool, June 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact VLN training course in rotorcraft flight simulation, which took place in the School of Engineering at the University of Liverpool.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description VLNPost-Graduate training: Helicopter Dynamics, Vibrarions and Control 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact This was a PhD students training in the fundamentals of helicopter rotor dynamics, vibration and control, held at the University of Bristol in July 2017; the module was run jointly by colleagues from Bristol and Leicester University.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017