Two Politecnico di Milano teams take the podium at the 37th VFS Annual Student Design Competition

Two Politecnico di Milano teams take the podium this year in both undergraduate and graduate categories at the 37th Annual Student Design Competition “Leonardo’s aerial screw: 500 years later” sponsored by Leonardo Helicopters.


Each year, the Vertical Flight Society competition challenges students to design a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft that meets specified requirements, providing a practical exercise for engineering students at colleges and universities to promote student interest in VTOL engineering and technology. The 2019-20 competition celebrated Leonardo da Vinci, painter, sculptor, architect and engineer Leonardo was the most versatile talent of the Italian Renaissance, who worked for many years in Milano and conceived many innovating ideas far ahead of his time. Among them, the famous drawing of the Aerial Screw, recognized by many as the first human-carrying vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) machine ever designed — more than 400 years ahead of the first helicopter.

The goal of the competition was to design a VTOL vehicle based on Leonardo’s Aerial Screw concept, studying and demonstrating the consistency of its physics and potential feasibility.

In the graduate category, the team of students of Politecnico di Milano named Giocondi won the third place with their innovative concept STOAT (Short TakeOff with Azimuth Thrusters). The result of the design process is composed by two thrusters with a fixed spiral surface on which airflow is blown. The vehicle is also a tribute to the famous Leonardo’s painting, the Lady with Ermine (or Stoat), with its sinuous surface which reminds of the body of an ermine.

For the first time this year, Politecnico di Milano participated also with an undergraduate team, named Poli’s Crew and composed mainly by student of the first year in Aerospace Engineering,  who won the third place in this category with a design that combined two side-by-side optimized aerial screws activated by electric motors with a classical tail propeller to stabilize the aircraft.

Both teams kept alive Leonardo’s legacy of innovation joined with imagination while continuing the rich tradition of success of Politecnico di Milano teams in this competition, after the second place in the 31st edition with the project Caurus Nibbio and the third place in the 33rd edition with the project Fenix, both in the graduate category.

Team Giocondi

Matteo DANIELE, Alessandro COCCO, Pierre GARBO, Davide MARIANI, Edoardo SASSI

Team Poli’sCrew

Gianni CURTI, Alberto CHIOZZI, Giuseppe DI STASI, Luca COLOMBO, Edoardo CHISALÉ, Matteo DI PILATO

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