Scaling effects and dynamic characteristics of miniature rotorcraft

Bernard Mettler, Chris Dever, Eric Feron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


The dynamic characteristics of miniature rotorcraft, starting from a parameterized linear model developed for the identification of a Yamaha R-50 helicopter (3.04-m rotor diameter), and later applied to a smaller, more agile X-Cell. 60 helicopter (1.52-m rotor diameter), are described. From this model, key flying qualities metrics are extracted and related to physical parameters. Based on these metrics, the identified data, and fundamental Froude and Mach scaling hypotheses, the effects of rotorcraft size on flying qualities and performance characteristics are analyzed and scaling trends inferred. These results are used to highlight the mechanical features and flight characteristics that are typical of small-scale rotorcraft, as well as to provide basic design guidelines for this class of vehicles.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)466-478
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004
Externally publishedYes


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