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Aerodynamic characteristics of helicopter engine side air intakes

Florian Knoth (Chair of Aerodynamics and Fluid Mechanics, Technical University of Munich, Garching, Germany)
Christian Breitsamter (Chair of Aerodynamics and Fluid Mechanics, Technical University of Munich, Garching, Germany)

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 9 October 2018

Issue publication date: 22 November 2018




Aerodynamic characteristics of engine side air intakes for a lightweight helicopter are investigated aiming to achieve an efficient engine airframe integration.


On a novel full-scale model of a helicopter fuselage section, a comprehensive experimental data set is obtained by wind tunnel testing. Different plenum chamber types along with static side intake and semi-dynamic side intake configurations are considered. Engine mass flow rates corresponding to the power requirements of realistic helicopter operating conditions are reproduced. For a variety of freestream velocities and mass flow rates, five-hole pressure probe data in the aerodynamic interface plane and local surface pressure distributions are compared for the geometries.


In low-speed conditions, unshielded, sideways facing air intakes yield lowest distortion levels and total pressure losses. In fast forward flight condition, a forward-facing intake shape is most beneficial. Additionally, the influence of an intake grid and plenum chamber splitter is evaluated.


The intake testing approach and the trends found can be applied to other novel helicopter intakes in early development stages to improve engine airframe integration and decrease development times.



The authors thank the editors, reviewers of AEAT and Emerald publishing for the conduct of the reviewing process.


Knoth, F. and Breitsamter, C. (2018), "Aerodynamic characteristics of helicopter engine side air intakes", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 90 No. 9, pp. 1355-1363.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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