For the complete overview and guidelines, download the 2019-2020 VFS Student Design Competition request for proposal here.
2019 marks the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo Da Vinci, the famous Renaissance inventor who conceived many outstanding and innovating ideas far ahead of his time. Among them was the sketch of the Aerial Screw, recognized by VFS and others as the first human-carrying vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) machine ever designed — in this case, some 400 years before a helicopter carried a person aloft (see the links at vtol.org/heritage).
The famous drawing of the Aerial Screw, together with a few lines of text describing the working principle, clearly envisioned the first technical concept for a VTOL vehicle and is considered the first heavier-than-air VTOL aircraft design in history.
Although this concept, for a number of reasons, is clearly far from being a practical solution of an actual VTOL capable machine, Leonardo Helicopters wishes to highlight that little attention has been posed from a technical standpoint to the idea of the Italian inventor. The actual pros and cons of the Aerial Screw are often quoted but have not been analyzed extensively, nor has a possible working application been studied, leaving a gap in the technical understanding of the significance of the invention.
The 37th Annual Student Design Competition will have an historical mark, proposing a critical review of the Leonardo Aerial Screw idea to understand how the concept can be considered the foundation of vertical flight.
The goal of this year’s VFS Student Design Competition is to design a VTOL vehicle based on Leonardo’s Aerial Screw concept, studying and demonstrating the consistency of its physics and potential feasibility
The competitors shall design a vehicle relying for lift and thrust from one or more “Aerial Screws,” i.e. single-blade rotor with solidity equal or greater than one with a continuous surface, making use of any possible airborne power-plant/energy storage (buoyancy can be considered), capable of:
Task 1: Vehicle Conceptual Design (ALL Participants)
The teams shall select a configuration based on the Aerial Screw as described above and provide:
The Conceptual design will be evaluated by means of the following metric:
Task 2: Detailed Design (Graduate Teams ONLY)
For the graduate category, a deeper technological investigation of key elements of the AerialScrew concept is required. This will entail an assessment of structural stress level and static and/or fatigue substantiation of the critical elements.
The objective is to demonstrate, on a few selected cases, that the developed conceptual design could actually be tested on a real demonstrator aircraft.
Areas to be assessed include the following:
The levels of details of any of the above is left to the team discretion and will be evaluated accordingly. Also, a preliminary assessment of any of the above is considered sufficient.
The detailed design work will be evaluated with the similar metric used for the Conceptual Design.
Optional Bonus Task: Flight Simulation Model sponsored by Advanced Rotorcraft Technology, Inc. (ART)
ART will form a judging committee consisting of experts from ART and VFS (and other vertical flight industry and academic institutions at their discretion) and will provide two prizes for the best FlightLab flight simulation of the concept: one prize each of $1,000 for the undergraduate and graduate teams.
Entries will be judged using the following criteria:
ART will provide specific details for obtaining the necessary software licenses to teams AFTER receipt of the Letter of Intent to Participate and ONLY if a team has indicated their plan to participate in the bonus task.
Training (electronic tutorials or similar) is also provided in an equal way to all participating teams; in order to foster a fair competition, no direct help or support can be provided to teams.
For the complete guidelines, download the 2019-2020 VFS Student Design Competition request for proposal here.
Undergraduate and graduate students from any school (university or college) may participate in this competition, with the exception of countries or persons prohibited by the United States government. A student may be full-time or part-time; their education level will be considered in the classification of their team (see 1.1.3).
The formation of project teams is encouraged and must follow these rules:
We look favorably upon the development of collaborative, multi-university teams for the added experience gained in education and project management. The maximum number of students for a multi-university team is twelve (12), distributed in any manner over the multi-university team.
The members of a team must be named in the The LOI is drafted by the team captain and emailed to the Vertical Flight Society contact by the date specified. The Letter of Intent must include:
Leonardo Helicopters is very pleased to sponsor the VFS Student Design Competition this year and will provide the funds for the awards and travel stipends, as described below (all amounts in US Dollars).
Submittals are judged in three (3) categories.
Best New Entrant:
Optional Bonus Task ($2,000):
For evaluation criteria; proposal requirements; proposal format, length, and medium; language and units used in proposal; and all other inquiries, download the 2019-2020 request for proposal here.