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Whales inspire rotor blade efficiency study

2nd February 2012 - 12:23 GMT | by Tony Osborne in London

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After studying humpback whales, scientists working for the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) have discovered and flight tested a way of making helicopters more manoeuvrable, it has been revealed.

The scientists had been studying the issue of 'dynamic stall' created when lift separates from a blade moving backwards. The stall creates turbulence resulting in increased drag, and putting loads on rotor head control rods. The issue limits the speed of helicopters and their manoeuvrability, while vibration levels make the flight uncomfortable for passengers.

'Stalling is one of the most serious problems in helicopter aerodynamics – and one of the most complex,'

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Tony Osborne

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Tony Osborne


Tony was deputy editor of Defence Helicopter and Rotorhub magazines before joining Aviation Week in …

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