The Georgia Tech Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence (VLRCOE) is a partnership between the nation’s two leading public Schools of Aerospace Engineering: the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan, combined with a private university, Washington University (St. Louis), also known for its major contributions to vertical lift technology.

Our Faculty

Our Center includes faculty, staff, and management leaders with a proven track record of pioneering advances in vertical lift technology and who are intimately familiar with the needs and requirements for its further advancement.

Our Recent Ph.D. Graduates

Faculty members of the Georgia Tech Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence have mentored over 80 Ph D degree recipients, many of whom are active in the rotorcraft industries and in academia.

Educational Program

Our VLRCOE provides a complete selection of course work in the various disciplines of vertical lift technology at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. These courses have been offered in a consistent and stable manner for over 30 years. The rotorcraft engineering core courses require a minimum of prerequisites so that students from any technical area may complete all courses within a normal graduate program.

The Aerospace Engineering M.S. program at Georgia Tech requires a total of 33 semester hours. These 33 semester hours include 6 hours of advanced mathematics and 3 hours of research credit. A Distance Learning offering of Master of Aerospace Engineering is also available.

The Aerospace Engineering Ph.D. program at Georgia Tech requires a total of 50 semester hours of course work beyond the B.S. degree. Of these hours, a total of 12 semester credit hours must be in Mathematics. The Ph D. program also requires students to pass a qualification exam in 3 different areas from a list of 14 potential areas (Aeroacoustics, Aerodynamics, Shear Flow, Structural Analysis, Solid Mechanics, Structural Dynamics and Aeroelasticity, Linear Control, Nonlinear Control, Analytical Mechanics, Combustion, High Temp. Gas Dynamics, Design Methods & Processes, Rotorcraft Air Vehicle Design & Performance, Space Vehicle Design & Performance, Helicopter Aeromechanics). It may be noted that 2 of the areas above are in the rotorcraft engineering area (Rotorcraft Air Vehicle Design and Helicopter Aeromechanics).

Within this system construct, the basic philosophy for graduate education within the VLRCOE is to provide two parallel areas of focus, one in the general engineering of rotary wing air vehicles, and one in a technical sub discipline of Aerospace Engineering of interest to the student, and relevant to the rotorcraft community.

The five areas of technical specialization available within the rotorcraft center are: Aerodynamics and Acoustics; Dynamics and Aeroelasticity; Flight Mechanics and Control; Structures and Materials; and Design and Optimization. The academic experience thus consists of both breadth and depth.

The rotorcraft engineering core course sequence provides broad background in rotorcraft engineering while the technical sub-discipline course work provides depth in a selected specialty area. Upon graduation, students enter the rotorcraft workforce with an ability to immediately contribute in their technical sub discipline while aware of the many different challenges in development and engineering of rotary wing air vehicles.

The rotorcraft engineering core curriculum includes:

  • a two course sequence in rotorcraft design (AE 6331 – Rotorcraft Design I and AE 6332 – Rotorcraft Design II)
  • a course in helicopter stability and control (AE 6503 – Helicopter Stability and Control)
  • a course in rotorcraft dynamics and aeroelasticity (AE 6220 – Rotorcraft Dynamics and Aeroelasticity)
  • a course in rotor aerodynamics (AE 6070 – Rotor Aerodynamics)
  • a course in rotorcraft structures and materials (AE8803 – Rotorcraft Structures and Materials).