Kooy Prize 2020 awarded to Laurent Declerck
For his MSc thesis: 'Feasibility study of a load alleviation strategy on a compound helicopter using redundant controls', Laurent Declerck has received the Kooy Prize 2020 by KIVI.
Interest in helicopters
Declerck started his studies at the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering of Delft University of Technology in 2012. "My interest lies mainly in helicopters because there is more design space to optimize the performance of helicopters compared to aircraft for civil aviation".
Declerck learned about so-called compound helicopters from Prof. Dr. Mark Voskuijl. This is a kind of junction between a helicopter and an airplane; it can take off vertically like a helicopter but can reach much higher speeds. Declerck: "In order to be able to simulate the flying characteristics of this special machine properly and to develop optimal control, it is important to understand the fundamental forces and loads involved and how everything affects each other. I had to stretch my arm quite a few times to find out what exactly happens to the blades and the rotor system".
For his research, Laurent worked on the development and validation of a new computer model that can simulate the flight behavior of compound helicopters. The model was used to gain insight in the best strategy to perform manoeuvres at high flight speeds. Critical dynamic loads (maintenance), flight characteristics and aircraft performance were simultaneously taken into account. By making smart use of the controls, dynamic loads on critical structural components can be significantly reduced while maintaining the same flight characteristics.
"I think it's great that I won the Kooy Prize of 2020; it feels like a recognition from independent parties for what you've done. In any case, I will be writing another publication about this -it is in the final phase - and I will continue to do research at the startup 'Flying Fish'. Here we simulate the performance and characteristics of a hydrofoil by means of software. These have many similarities to an aircraft, only they are not carried by air but by water. When we understand the dynamics and controls, we can increase efficiency and drastically reduce fuel consumption".
Because of the corona crisis, the prize was awarded 'online'. Read more about the Kooij prize here.