Sikorsky Aims for ‘Jet Smooth’ Helicopter Ride
Sikorsky has revealed performance targets for an active counter-vibration system that could make a helicopter ride “jet smooth,” thanks to actuators that counter loads at their source. The rotor hub-mounted vibration suppression system (HMVS) is being developed with Lord and has just completed rig testing. Bill Welsh, chief of Sikorsky’s dynamics and internal acoustics group, told AIN that typical helicopter vibrations are in the 0.1 to 0.15g range. The HMVS will cut this down to “0.03g or below–virtually undetectable vibration.” Current passive systems weigh about 0.2 percent of the aircraft’s empty weight, but the HMVS will halve this. Thanks to improved parts durability, the system is expected to require 10 percent less maintenance. The flying testbed will likely be a Black Hawk military transport or an S-92 medium twin. It will fly in the fourth quarter of next year or in early 2012. The HMVS could be in service in about five years, Welsh said. Sikorsky plans to integrate the system into all of its helicopters.