Date of Submission

Spring 4-22-2020

Project Type

Senior Design


Aerospace Engineering


Industrial & Systems Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Mechatronics Engineering


The Department of Systems & Industrial Engineering

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Adeel Khalid

Secondary Advisor

Professor Santana Roberts


Known as the “Renaissance Man,” DaVinci’s impressive knowledge of mechanics and inventive prowess would influence engineers and innovators hundreds of years later to make human flight a reality. However, due to the limited capacity of engineering and manufacturing at the time, his invention had been shallowly investigated in a production setting. This project strove to properly acknowledge DaVinci’s invention by thorough examination and critical analysis of his concept with the hopes of gaining a better understanding of why it is considered the “foundation of vertical flight”.

An iterative design approach was employed, utilizing faculty and university resources, team knowledge from previous courses, and computational software to conceptualize, analyze, and refine the rotorcraft design. The majority of the project consisted of hand calculations, FEA and CFD analyses, and project management. The performance analysis of this design resulted in clearer comprehension of the physical system and the benefits of exploring a unique design approach.

The project proved a rotor inspired by DaVinci’s aerial screw and influenced by modern technology and power storage systems could indeed produce enough lift to overcome component weight and achieve vertical flight. From simulation analysis and hand calculations, the lift per rotor was 2.24 kN, generating a total lift of 8.96 kN. This was ample lift to overcome the total helicopter weight of 311.078 kg. This is further proven with a T/W of 1.487. Additional parameters included a P_available of 6.5 kW, which was way more than the P_required of 504.7 W. These results confirm an aircraft prototype that relied on lift and thrust from a minimum of 5 / one aerial screw was successfully engineered. In the future, the team hopes this research inspires new innovative approaches to modern rotor systems, and emboldens fellow engineers to continue researching and experimenting with unique design concepts and innovations, both past and present.