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Rotor Blade Tip Shape Effects on Performance and Control Loads from Full‐Scale Wind Tunnel Testing

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A test of a full‐scale four‐bladed helicopter rotor was conducted in the NASA Ames Research Center 40‐ by 80‐Fool Wind Tunnel to investigate performance, acoustics, and loads characteristics of a rotor with various tip planforms. The rotor system employed four interchangeable tip shapes; rectangular, tapered, swept rectangular and swept tapered planforms over the outer 4.5% radius. The investigation covered an advance ratio range of 0.2 to 0.375 and advancing tip Mach number range of 0.72 up to 0.97. The effect of tip geometry on performance is shown in terms of respective power characteristics at various lift levels for a range of propulsive farces. On a power basis, the best overall tip geometry was the swept tapered configuration. The effects of tip geometry on control loads are shown primarily on the basis of one‐half peak‐to‐peak loads. However, at the higher advance ratio. the presence of substantial high‐frequency harmonic loading is noted and found to be significantly influenced by blade tip planform. The swept‐tapered tip was found to lessen control loads for the high advancing tip Mach number condition. Tip taper and sweep both were found to have a beneficial effect on the acoustic signature, with the swept‐tapered tip being the quietest of the four shapes tested.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Ames Research Center, NASA Moffett Field, California

Publication date: 1979-10-01

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  • The Journal of the American Helicopter Society is the world's only scientific journal dedicated to vertical flight technology. It is a peer-reviewed technical journal published quarterly by AHS International and presents innovative papers covering the state-of-the-art in all disciplines of rotorcraft design, research and development. (Please note that AHS members receive significant discounts on articles and subscriptions.)

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