Rotor Test Stand

The Helicopter Department of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) DLR-Institute of Flight Systems in Braunschweig is home to the Rotor Test Stand, also known as ROTEST; it provides unique conditions for the development of future helicopters. The large-scale facility is mobile and can be used in various ways, enabling the testing of rotors with a diameter of up to 4.2 metres – which is far larger than rotor test rigs typically accommodate.

Unique test facility for helicopter research

The size of the rotors means that they are structurally, dynamically and aerodynamically very similar to those found on real helicopters; consequently, they realistically reproduce a number of the most important rotor parameters (for example, power requirements, blade dynamics, vibrations and noise).

Measurements are taken to determine power requirements, rotor and blade dynamics, as well as high-resolution rotor blade and fuselage aerodynamics. External measurement technologies are used to calculate noise emissions and localise noise sources, as well as to visualise the global flow field and individual vortex structures. Rotor blade positioning and deformation can also be investigated. The results obtained make an important contribution to reducing the risk, development time and financial costs associated with designing new helicopter systems.

The comprehensive measurement technologies make the Rotor Test Stand ideally suited to fundamental research, as well as applications in industry. The system is completely portable; tests can be performed either in the DLR Institute of Flight Systems’ rotor hall or in any wind tunnel of sufficient size, anywhere in the world.

The Institute of Flight Systems has many years of experience with successfully implementing wind tunnel tests on helicopter rotors, helicopters and tilt-rotor aircraft. Consequently, the facility is recognised, both nationally and internationally, as a productive collaboration partner for research establishments and industry. Such collaborations take place both within the EU and globally.


Volker Speelmann

Head of Research Infrastructures
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Executive Board department for Innovation, Transfer and Research Infrastructure
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne

Dipl.-Ing. Marc Höfinger

Head of Department
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Flight Systems
Lilienthalplatz 7, 38108 Braunschweig