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Composite Technology in the UK Helicopter Industry

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Since the 1960's there has been a continuing increase in the use of composite materials in helicopters, particularly in the rotor system. To Illustrate the design and manufacturing processes currently in use in the UK two recent examples (vibration absorber and tail rotor blade) are taken from the Westland WG30 helicopter and examined in detail. In both cases very substantial benefits are shown over alternatives. A brief note is then made of more general manufacturing issues. For the future, further substantial gains are anticipated both in the rotor system and fuselage. In the rotor the use of aero‐elastic tailoring should provide both performance and environmental gains whilst in the fuselage there should be substantial savings in weight and cost.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Westland Helicopters Limited, Yeovil, England

Publication date: October 1, 1981

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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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