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Helitune announces enhanced rotor tuning algorithm

25th March 2013 - 15:09 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


Helitune has developed a new algorithm to reduce the damaging and potentially harmful blade vibrations in helicopter rotors. The work was conducted in association with the University of Bristol as part of one of the Technology Strategy Board’s (TSB) Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) projects.

The current process of Rotor Track and Balance (RTB) for helicopters usually involves many hours of test flights and painstaking mechanical adjustments. The KTP project aims to develop novel RTB techniques, enabling helicopter operators to minimise vibration, reduce operating costs and improve safety and reliability. The project has resulted in the development of the Minimum Flight Routine (MFR) algorithm.

Based on research work carried out at Bristol University, the MFR is a next-generation algorithm, which allows multi-adjustments for RTB, processing in-flight data and generating a set of mechanical adjustments to bring the rotor within acceptable vibration levels. This streamlined process reduces the number of dedicated flights required to perform RTB and return an aircraft to a serviceable state (from circa 8-9 flights to 4-5 flights), offering a cost-effective, more accurate way to minimise damaging helicopter vibration.

Prof. Nick Lieven of Bristol University said: ‘This KTP project really demonstrates the benefits that can be realised by academia and industry coming together to resolve complex engineering problems. The University of Bristol has benefited by being able to take research originally completed some 15 years ago, applying it to a real-life scenario, providing the opportunity to understand the variable factors that influence helicopter vibrations under real-world operating conditions and ultimately producing tangible, visible results that can be applied and exploited within the industry.’

The project has developed and deployed the MFR technique across Helitune’s entire product range, and the company plans to further develop the technology for its new product range.

The Shephard News Team


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