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A Subjective Test of Modulated Blade Spacing for Helicopter Main Rotors

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A previous analytical study has found that uneven (modulated) spacing of main rotor blades led to reduced helicopter noise. The present study was performed to see if these reductions transferred to improvements in subjective response. Using a predictive computer code, sounds produced by six main rotor configurations were predicted: 4 blades evenly spaced, 5 blades evenly spaced and four configurations with 5 blades with modulated spacing of varying amounts. These predictions were converted to audible sounds corresponding to the level flyover, takeoff and approach flight conditions. Subjects who heard the simulations were asked to assess the overflight sounds in terms of noisiness on a scale of 0 to 10. The evenly spaced configurations were found less noisy than the modulated spacings, possibly because the uneven spacings produced a perceptible pulsating sound due to the very low fundamental frequency.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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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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