"Vibhram" a novel helicopter design by a team of post graduate students (two PhD and six MTech) from Aerospace Engineering Department of IIT Kanpur have won third prize in the graduate category of 34th Annual Student Design Competition organized by the American Helicopter Society (AHS) (see link below). This is the first time in 34 years history of this competition that a team from Asia has finished on the podium of this competition in the graduate category.  They could achieve the current position by beating multiple teams from University of Liverpool, a second team from Georgia Tech., Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (China) etc.

See: https://vtol.org/education/student-design-competition

The objective of this year's competition was to carry out conceptual system level design of an unmanned  helicopter that can fly continuously for 24 hours while carrying a payload of 80 kg. The entire design work was carried out as part of AE 660: Preliminary Design of Helicopter course taught by Dr. Abhishek (assistant professor in Aerospace Department) in the previous semester. Prof. C. Venkatesan (Emeritus Fellow Professor in Aerospace Department) was the go to person for the team to discuss ideas and seek guidance whenever the team ran out of ideas.

Research Highlights

The design from IIT Kanpur is very innovative novel dissimilar coaxial rotor concept (see attached image) which was conceived for this competition by PhD student Mr. Rahul Ramanujam (a patent has already been filed on this concept). This rotor concept has been predicted to be more efficient than any existing helicopter concept such as conventional (single main rotor and tail rotor) and regular coaxial helicopters by 15-30%. This revolutionary new design is expected to have a strong impact on the future of helicopter technology. A research paper on the design authored by Rahul would be presented in September at European Rotorcraft Forum in Milan, Italy.

The team members included:

1. Mr. Karthik S. (Team leader, MTech)
2. Mr. Rahul Ramanujam (Team technical leader, PhD)
3. Mr. Ramdas (PhD)
4. Ms. Diksha Aggarwal (MTech)
5. Ms. Sakshi Gupta (MTech)
6. Mr. Avinash Shet (MTech)
7. Mr. Vishesh Kumar Singh (MTech)
8. Mr. Naba Kishore Routray (MTech)

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