About this online course


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This course gives an extended introduction to the field of rotorcraft including conventional helicopters, hybrid aircraft-rotorcraft configurations such as tiltrotors and helicopters carrying slung loads. The course underlines helicopter's unique capabilities as mean of transportation and addresses current key issues affecting public acceptance such as safety and noise. The direction of future rotorcraft development is covered with an outline of the research that is still needed to transform rotorcraft in a reliable future means of transportation.

This course covers the following topics (see "details" tab for more information):

  • explaining the context in which helicopters are operated
  • examining the limitations in helicopter capabilities from fundamental aerodynamic and dynamic characteristics
  • describing the fundamentals of helicopter control and stability

In a dynamic and growing sector of the aeronautical industry, this course is essential for those wishing to extend their knowledge so as to perform their existing role more effectively. And for those wishing to move into the area of helicopter and rotorcraft design, development and operation it will also prove invaluable.

This course will benefit practicing engineers, managers or other professionals involved in rotary wing engineering, design, testing, operational evaluation or other technical aspects. The course is suitable for entry level engineers and advanced level as well.

Download Course Syllabus


Nowadays helicopters are generally reliable flying machines capable of fulfilling missions impossible with fixed-wing aircraft. As Igor Sikorsky said, "If a man is in need of rescue, an airplane can come in and throw flowers on him, and that's just about all. But a direct lift aircraft could come in and save his life." Indeed, when being used either in emergency medical and rescue operations - for example for saving victims from automobile accidents, shipwrecks, earthquakes or fires in high-rise buildings – or as a means for future transportation, helicopters are presently actively operating on every continent. But helicopters remain complex vehicles and their development tends to lag behind that of fixed-wing aircraft some two decades.

This course addresses these issues by covering the following topics:

  • analysis of the behavior of rotor flapping motion of the helicopter blades
  • the use of flow conservation laws to develop analytic expressions for rotor downwash, rotor thrust and power requirements
  • projects that enable students to solve helicopter flight mechanics issues such as aircraft trimming in a range of flight conditions and to analyze the stability of flight and the response to controls and atmospheric turbulences
  • the introduction of a variety of analysis methods to explore helicopter flight mechanics e.g. linear stability theory, eigenvalues/vectors, response solutions, analytic expression
  • the definition and explanation of the most typical helicopter aeroelastic instabilities
  • environmental and attitude analysis of rotorcraft

Students participate actively in this module by discussing cases from industry, brainstorming about rotorcraft developments strategies, sharing personal experiences and their own case studies, and practicing skills in simulation exercises.



You will complete four assignments during the course and one final assignment which consists of building a piloted simulation model for flying a typical pre-selected helicopter maneuver. These assignments will be handed in digitally through the Electronic Learning Environment.



If you successfully complete your online course you will be awarded with a TU Delft certificate.

This certificate will state that you were registered as a non-degree-seeking student at TU Delft and successfully completed the course. The certificate will also indicate the number of ECTS credits this course is equal to (3 ECTS) when this course is taken as part of a degree program at the university.

If you decide that you would like to apply to the full Master's program in Aerospace Engineering, you will need to go through the admission process as a regular MSc student. If you are admitted, you can then request an exemption for this course that you completed as a non-degree-seeking student. The Board of Examiners will evaluate your request and will decide whether or not you are exempted.


General admission to this course

Required prior knowledge

  • A relevant BEng or BSc degree in a subject closely related to the content of the course or specialized program in question, such as aerospace engineering, aeronautical engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering or (applied) physics.
  • If you do not meet these requirements because you do not have a relevant Bachelor's degree but you have a Bachelor's degree from a reputable institution and you think you have sufficient knowledge and experience to complete the course, you are welcome to apply, stating your motivation and reasons for admission. The faculty of aerospace engineering will decide whether you will be admitted based on the information you have provided. Appeal against this decision is not possible.

Expected prior knowledge
In addition to the entry requirements mentioned above, prior knowledge of the topic is necessary in order to complete this course. For admission purposes, TU Delft will not ask you for proof of this prior knowledge, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the sufficient knowledge, obtained through relevant work experience or prior education.

To view the essential background knowledge, please check your knowledge against the learning objectives of these comparable TU Delft courses:

Expected Level of English
English is the language of instruction for this online course. If your working language is not English or you have not participated in an educational program in English in the past, please ensure that your level of proficiency is sufficient to follow the course. TU Delft recommends an English level equivalent to one of the following certificates (given as an indication only; the actual certificates are not required for the admission process):

  • TOEFL score 90+ (this is an internet-based test)
  • IELTS (academic version) overall Band score of at least 6.5
  • University of Cambridge: "Certificate of Proficiency in English" or "Certificate in Advanced English"

Admission process

In order to complete your admission process you will be asked to upload the following documents:

  • a CV which describes your educational and professional background (in English)
  • a copy of your passport or ID card
  • a copy of relevant transcripts and diplomas


If you have any questions about this course or the TU Delft online learning environment, please visit our Help & Support page.

Start Admission

  • Starts: Future dates to be announced
  • Fee: €750
  • Group fee: contact us
  • Length: 8 weeks
  • Effort: 10 - 11 hours per week

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