A global team of research organizations is quietly working on an active rotor blade in which distributed piezo-electric actuators can change blade twist almost continuously over the course of one blade revolution. Partners can be found in the U.S., Europe and Asia. A full test campaign is scheduled for next year.
Eurocopter released a statement on June 15, absolving the UK’s Bond Offshore Helicopters of responsibility for the May 10, 2012 ditching of an EC225 Super Puma into the North Sea.
The EASA and FAA have issued new emergency Airworthiness Directives (ADs) for the Eurocopter EC135 after detection of cracks on the lower hub-shaft flange of two more of the light twins. The ADs require repetitive preflight inspections.
The FAA issued a second Emergency Airworthiness Directive [2012-10-53] for the Eurocopter EC135 on May 18. This EAD supercedes the earlier EAD [2012-10-51] for an inspection of the main rotor hub shaft flange for cracks.
Composite Technology, a Sikorsky Aerospace Services company based at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, has opened a $15 million structure to dynamically balance helicopter main rotor blades. It can test main rotor blades that rotate either clockwise or counterclockwise, and its two 3,000-shp, variable-frequency drive motors make it suitable for light to heavy helicopters. A test involves three blades: a precision-balanced master blade and two test blades. One blade can weigh up to 500 pounds.
The EASA has issued an emergency Airworthiness Directive (AD) calling for inspections of all Eurocopter EC135s after a crack was discovered on the lower hub-shaft flange of a main rotor hub shaft on one of the light twin-engine helicopters. In issuing the emergency order, the agency wants to avoid crack propagation, which could cause hub failure.
Honeywell plans to provide the Zing Test Elite rotor track-and-balance maintenance technology to MD Helicopters to support all current and new MD500 series helicopters. Based on the Zing HUMS 1134 on-board system, Zing Test Elite is a carry-on system that quickly provides the ability to perform helicopter rotor smoothing, engine refining performance checks, component balancing, and vibration surveys to save time, fuel and maintenance costs.
The X3 compound helicopter demonstrator is set to resume flights this month. Data analysis from the first two flight-test campaigns has prompted new questions, chief technology officer Jean-Michel Billig told AIN, and the launch of a third test campaign has been scheduled. The testing will explore the behavior of the main rotor at high speed. Some other goals relate to the Fadec and the link between rotor rpm and aircraft speed. Billing said the first product using X3 technology may appear in 2020 or 2021.
Sikorsky Innovations has completed wind-tunnel testing of an active rotor system equipped with “high-authority” flaps, thus paving the way for improvements in noise, vibration–and, marginally, efficiency–on future rotorcraft. The program, which started in 2008, is part of a broader program that encompasses leading-edge rotor blade devices. The tested system involved trailing-edge flaps and a closed-loop control.