Skip to Main Content
Cycloidal propellers are known to be high thrust propulsors and find use in marine vessels such as tug boats and high-performance battle ships. Cycloidal propellers are the type of propulsive system that generates thrust by controlling cyclically the attack angles of the rotating blades. They have the characteristics of omni-directional and instantaneous control capabilities to yield high thrust from small control power. Research on their application to aeronautical fields has been performed in the U.S.A., but no commercial or military vehicles have reportedly flown for practical uses. The drawback of this type of propeller lies within the control mechanisms since they are so sophisticated and the number of parts are necessary. This means their weight tends to be large. AIST and UOT (University of Tsukuba) have been working in collaboration for a couple of years to analyze cycloidal propeller performances and seek potential markets for LTA vehicles such as airships with this particular propeller type. This paper introduces the propeller application to airships; robotic LTA and private smallest manned LTA vehicles. In the former case, a specific design and preliminary development model is presented as a miniature aerobatic airship.