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# He Whareleura-tini

Kaihautu 0 Aotearoa

THE OPE N
POLYTECHNIC
OF NEW ZEALAND

1- f
k

Bas/0 He//copier
Aerodynamics
5553 10

CONTENTS
%

Hovering

1
=

## Transition from Hover to Forward Flight

Translational Lift

3
4

## Transition from Forward Flight to Hover

Power Required
Power Available

5
7
9

Forward Flight

12

Dissymetry of Lift

12

15

Stability

17

Vortex Ring

18
19

## Control on the Ground

23

Ground Resonance
Taxying

23
25
26

Centre of Gravity

26

Autorotation

28

Autorotative Force

29

Forward Speed

32

All-up Weight

3%

Altitude

35

## Range and Endurance

35

This material is for the sole use of enrolled students and may not

## be reproduced without the written authority of the Principal, TOPNZ.

555/3/10

'32

AIRCRAFT ENGINEERING

HELICOPTERS

ASSIGNMENT 10

## BASIC HELICOPTER FLIGHT AERODYNAMICS

Hovering
when the helicopter is at rest on the ground with rotor
rev/min set at the normal takeoff figure, the lift resulting
without collective pitch is negligible. In this condition, the
only effective force acting on the aircraft is that of gravity
acting on the mass. The only reason that this unbalanced force
does not produce movement is because the ground supplies an
equal and opposite reaction.
As collective pitch is applied and the rev/min kept constant,
so the lift is increased and the weight is taken off the wheels.
The reaction from the ground is reduced, but there is still no
movement of the aircraft. when the lift exactly balances the
weight, a new state of equilibrium has been created, with the
aircraft at rest and with no reaction from the ground.
As pitch is further increased, lift exceeds weight and the
excess force creates an acceleration upwards (F

Ma).

That

## is, the aircraft will now climb vertically, given perfect

still-air conditions.

## drag results and must be added to the weight. A new stage of

equilibrium will be reached at the climbing speed, where
parasite drag is equal to the excess of lift over weight.
To achieve hover, pitch is reduced until the lift again
equals weight.

## climb,at the same time, itself reducing to zero. A new state

of equilibrium is then reached, with lift equal to weight and
the aircraft stationary at the required height.

10/9i

555/3/l0

_ 2 -

## This, then, represents the perfect hover, assuming no

outside interference, wind, and so on, with lift exactly balancing
weight.
Ideally, there should be no further movement of the
collective, cyclic, throttle, or tail rotor controls to maintain
a constant position. In practice, however, small control
corrections must constantly be made to keep an accurate hover.

## If power is now reduced, the aircraft will descend as a

result of excess weight over lift. The descent will again be
an acceleration until the parasite drag from the fuselage once
again equates the forces. The descent is then at constant speed.
Ground effect: As a slowly descending helicopter nears
the ground, its rate of descent reduces, and it may even come
to a hovering attitude -even though no changes to the collective

ground effect.

## The effect is brought about by an increased pressure area

being created between the rotor disc and the ground as a result
of the normal downward flow of air through the disc being
slowed by the ground immediately below the rotor. The effect
is sometimes called ground cushion because the impression is of
the aircraft "sitting" on an air cushion.
The closer the rotor is to the ground, the more the air
will tend to be trapped and slowed and therefore "cushion"
the aircraft. That is, the closer the aircraft is to the
ground, the greater will be the ground effect and therefore the
lesser the power required to hover.
Because ground effect
decreases with height above the ground, it is not easy to
state positively a height at which the effect will be negligible.
For practical purposes, the ground cushion is taken as the rotor
height above ground equivalent to the length of one rotor blade
or one half of the rotor diameter.

## the thicker the ground cushion.

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_ 3 _
The second factor affecting ground effect is the nature of
the ground itself. Because the effect depends upon the slowed
air maintaining a streamline flow, the smoother, firmer, and
more level the ground is, the greater the effect will be. Thus,
a level stretch of tarmac or concrete will give maximum effect.
Long grass, small bushes, or uneven ground tend to break up the
smooth flow of air and reduce the effect.

## an inequality of ground effect round the disc and hence some

tendency for the aircraft to "slide" down the slope. A similar
result will occur if the disc is not parallel to the ground,
for example, when hovering in a wind or in the transition from
the hover to translational flight. A wind tends to displace
the "cushion" downwind of the helicopter.
Re-circulation:
Some energy is lost by the spillage of air
around the tips of the blades.
This can be aggravated when
hovering near the ground, particularly if some
obstruction fairly near to the rotor, such as a hangar door
or a high building, which causes the air, after passing through
the rotor, to re-circulate down through the rotor again. This
detracts from the ground effect and, when the obstruction is only
on one side of the rotor, causes an inequality of lift around
the disc

obstruction.

## Transition from Hover to Forward Flight

This transition, which will be made nearly every time the
helicopter is flown, is usually accomplished as the helicopter
is climbing from its take-off site. However, it can be a
manoeuvre during flying training, and so we'll consider the
theory from the point of view of keeping the lift factor
constant.
' In Fig. l, the centre line shows the flight path. The
parallel dotted lines show that lift is equal to weight so that
a constant height is maintained.

555/3/l0

- u _
Figure l (a) shows the helicopter in a perfect hover (still
air) within the ground cushion. The lift is shown as a combination
of power and ground effect.
To achieve forward flight from hover, you need to tilt
the disc forward with a forward movement of the cyclic stick, and
so create a thrust force in the required direction. See Fig. l (b)
You then need to increase the size of the useful force to keep
the lift component equal to weight. The tilting of the disc
also causes some loss of ground effect, requiring yet more
power to compensate.
In fact, power is normally increased to
maximum to ensure no loss of height. This can be a hazard
operationally if the power margin is small. It may be possible
to hover, as the result of ground effect, when at nearly full
power, but the sink caused by the change of disc attitude may be
such that not enough power is left to prevent the aircraft
sliding off the ground cushion and so striking the ground.
The thrust force created by tilting the disc now causes
the fuselage to accelerate in the direction of disc tilt, that
is, forwards in this case. Acceleration will continue until
the parasite drag of the fuselage balances the thrust component
Fig. l (c). An equilibrium state is established, and speed
will now remain constant. The speed at which this occurs will
depend on the amount the disc is tilted and whether there is
enough power to provide the necessary useful force at this disc
attitude.

Translational Lift
As speed increases, power may be reduced as a result of
translational lift. This is additional lift created by the
rotor, at given pitch and power settings, when moving forward,
as a result of the increased mass flow of air now passing
through the disc in a given time.

## produce a given force if a large mass is given a small

acceleration compared with a small mass being given large
acceleration.
If power is not reduced but level flight is
maintained by moving the stick forward, not only will the forward

555/3/10

_ 5 _

## speed increase, but the rotor rev/min will also increase as a

result of the extra power available. Any further increase in
speed will require a disproportionate increase in power to
compensate for parasite drag, which rises as the square of the
speed Fig. l (d).
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PPower

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PD ~ Parasite drag

P

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## Transition from Forward Flight to Hover

Figure 2 shows the change of rotor attitude from forward
flight condition to induce rapid deceleration called a flare.
The effects of the flare are:

l.

## An increase in the useful force as a result of

the increase in the angle of attack of the disc
(forward movement is maintained). This is
comparable to the increase in angle of attack of
a fixedwing aircraft in a steep turn or pulling
out of a dive.

2.

## A reversal of the direction of the thrust component,

causing rapid deceleration.

3.

## Some tendency to cut off the inflow of air,

hence partly offsetting the effect described in
l.

4.

## An increase in rotor rev/min. This is surprising

because an increase in angle of attack would
suggest an increase in drag and therefore a
decrease in rev/min. However, the important
factor is the relationship of the direction of total
reaction to the plane of rotation. Figure 2
shows that, as a result of the flare, total
reaction has moved forward relative to the plane
of rotation, thus causing an increase in rotor
rev/min.

555/3/10

_ 5 -

RA Rclaiive, airflow

PR - Plal/H2. of roiaiion

L LIFT

A Pitch angle

TR

## RPD Rotor profiie drag

TR - Total FQQCIIOH

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Effect of flare

## In forward powered flight, the relative airflow enters the

rotor disc from above the plane of rotation.
it enters from below.

During a flare,

## TO return to a state of hover from a cruise state, you

could just move the cyclic control back to tilt the rotor disc
to the hovering attitude. The aircraft would then lose speed
as a result of parasite drag. However, a more rapid deceleration
is usually required so the helicopter is normally flared.
As the result of the temporary increase in angle of attack,
the aircraft will tend to climb unless power is reduced.

You

may also need to throttle back to prevent the rotor from overspeeding due to the increase in rev/min. However, the air
inflow soon becomes stabilised, and translational lift decreases
as the aircraft decelerates rapidly as a result of both parasite
drag and reverse thrust. Power must then be increased
considerably as the aircraft is coming to rest so as to prevent
it from sinking. At this stage, you must maintain rotor rev/min.
Finally, as all forward speed is lost, you need to restore the disc
to the correct hovering attitude to prevent the aircraft from
moving backwards and you should reduce power again, not only
because of the disappearance of the thrust component but
also because of the reestablishment of the ground cushion.
See Fig.

3.
555/3/10

_ 7 _
We have assumed throughout the transition that
there is no wind effect.
In practice, the
transitions will normally be made into wind.

NOTE:

P- Power

TL

\i'/

T- Thrusl

## TL- Translational lift

RT- Reverse. thrust

/FE

TL

(oi

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FIG. 3

PD-Parasilz drag
FF.-"Flare effect

TL

(c)

as

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## Power Requ ired

Large changes of power must be made to maintain level flight

## with varyi ng forward speeds.

In practice, only one change of power is made, by either
collective lever or hand throttle or both, while in theory, the
power required for level flight can be divided into three
components

l.

## reaction acting in the plane of rotation,

called rotor profile drag, must be overcome
if rotor rev/min are to be maintained. The
power to do this is called rotor profile
power.

2.

Induced power:

## to cause a flow of air through the rotor by

applying pitch, that is, giving the air an
induced velocity. The power needed to
cause this airflow is called induced power.
As pitch is increased, the rotor profile
power will also increase. Provided enough
power is available to produce lift and
still maintain rotor rev/min, the helicopter
should be able to hover. The factors of
power needed to drive the tail rotor and the
cooling fan are included in the total of
rotor profile power.

555/3/l0

_ 3 _
3.

## Parasite power: When the helicopter moves,

the airflow over the fuselage meets a
resistance to its passage. This is called
parasite drag, and the power needed to
overcome this drag is called parasite power.
Figure H shows the variations
of these three components of power
required through the speed range.
Although the buildup of forward
speed causes complications of
the airflow relative to the

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## rotor disc, the total effect on

rotor profile drag is not
pronounced until the higher speeds
are reached.

FIG. 4

Because of this,

## a slight curve, gradually increasing with speed.

As forward speed is increased, a greater mass of air will
pass through the rotors.

## less acceleration to provide effective force than a small mass,

the induced power can be decreased. In other words, as forward
speed increases, rotor efficiency also increases.
In the
transition stage, however, more induced power is needed to supply
the required thrust force and to compensate for the loss of
ground effect.
Parasite drag tends to increase in ratio to V2. For
example, if we have one unit of drag at 20 m/s (V), we would have
four units of drag at HO m/s and nine units at 60 m/s.
Thus,
parasite power is shown as an ever-increasing curve with speed
increase.
Figure 5 shows the total power required for level flight.
The power required curve shows the initial demand for induced
power in the transition from the hover, the subsequent decrease
as forward speed is built up, and the rapid increase of
parasite drag with higher speed.

555/3/10

_ 9 _

Power
requked

Power

required

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ___

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POWER

Power

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FORWARD SPEED

FORWARD \$PEED

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FIG. 5 Comparison of power required with power
available

Power Available
with fixed-wing, pistonengined and turbine~engined aircraft, the power available curve rises to a maximum and then
falls or keeps rising respectively.

## constant induction manifold pressure or fuel flow, rev/min,

and altitude, there is no variation of power available throughout the speed range.

## More important is its relative vertical position in terms

of the power required curve, that is, whether the availability
meets the requirement. This may be regarded as one of the
essential factors in all helicopter operations (the power/weight
ratio).
If you compare the two curves in Fig. 5, you can see
that if the power available is above the power required throughoutFig. 5 (a)--thennot only are hover, transition, and full speed
possible, but a climb is also possible at any speed, the rate of
climb being determined by the excess power and the weight of the
aircraft.
If, however, the power available curve cuts the
power required curveFig. 5 (b)-then it is not possible to
hover, and you may need to make a "running" takeoff or its
equivalent,that is, make use of translational lift, to compensate
far the pgwep shortage,
The maximum forward speed will also be
reduced.

555/3/10

_ 19 _

## Overpitching: Where power may be marginal, during take-off,

hover, or transition, overpitching may occur. This means that
so much collective pitch has to be applied to produce the required
lift that not enough power is left to overcome the high rotor
profile drag. As a result, the rotor rev/min will fall in spite
of the hand throttle being fully open, and the aircraft will
start to sink.
The application of more pitch would obviously
only aggravate the situation, and the only remedy is to lower
the lever, keeping the throttle fully open, and accept the
resultant sink until correct rev/min are recovered. You may
even have to put the aircraft back on the ground and reduce
weight.
NOTE:

## True overpitching occurs only when the throttle

is fully open, though similar symptoms can result
from a rapid lever movement without adequate
throttle lead, for example, in the transition
to the hover. In this case, the remedy is to
open the throttle.

l.

These

## three factors can be dealt with under one

heading because the basic problem is one of
air density. The reason for applying pitch
to the rotor is to accelerate a mass flow of
air through the rotor. A given pitch setting
at constant rev/min will, however, accelerate
a given column of air, and the mass flow
will therefore depend on the density
mass

volume X density

## Any reduction in air density will therefore

reduce its mass flow and the resulting lift,
so requiring an increase in pitch and,
consequently, power to balance the weight.
An increase in altitude, temperature, or
humidity will, in each case, cause a decrease
in density and therefore in the performance
of the rotor.

555/3/10

_ 11 _
Each of these factors also affects the engine
performance resulting in a decrease in the
power available at the same time that the
power required is increasing. The humidity
used is the specific humidity, that is,
the actual amount of water vapour present,
as opposed to relative humidity.
2.

## Wind effect: The effect of moving the rotor

disc through the air is to increase the mass
airflow through the rotor and so decrease the
power needed. Wind blowing through the
rotors will have much the same effect as
rotation of the rotors.

3.

## A11up weight: Because more pitch must be

applied to supply an increase in lift (assuming
constant rev/min), the factor most affecting
power required is allup weight. Thus, the
ratio of weight to power is of great importance
in all helicopter operations.

SUMMARY

## Ground effect, or ground cushion, is said to extend

vertically upward to a rotor height above ground of
half the rotor diameter.
Power may be reduced once translational lift is gained.
Parasite drag increases very rapidly with increasing
air speed.
In forwardpowered flight, the relative airflow
enters the rotor disc from above the plane of
rotation. when flared it enters from below.

PRACTICE EXERCISE A
State whether each of the following statements is true
or false.
l.

thrust = drag.

2.

## The type of ground surface has a great influence

on the strength of the ground cushion.

3.

## Translational lift will increase parasite drag,

and so more power will be needed.

555/3/l0

weight, and

_ 12 _

4.

speed.

5.

## When the power available is just enough for

hover, a transition to level flight is safely
possible.

6.

speed.

7.

power required.

8.

the rotor.

9.

## In level flight, the relative airflow enters

the rotor from below the plane of rotation.

10.

## Ground effect extends vertically to a rotor

height above ground of one rotor diameter, and
the ground cushion extends to one half-rotor
diameter.

Forward Flight

## As soon as forward speed is gained, the effect of dissymetry

of lift is felt. This effect, which has an important bearing
on the cyclic control of the helicopter, also imposes a limit on
the forward speed.

Dissymetry of Lift
When the aircraft is moving forward, a rotor blade in the
180 of rotation from the tail cone to the nose is said to be
advancing, and this side of the rotor disc is called the advancing
gigg.

From the nose back to the tail cone, the blade is said to

If a

## two-bladed rotor is considered, the maximum effect of the forward

speed will be experienced with the blades athwartships (Pig. 6).
On the advancing blade, the relative airflow is the sum of the

555/3/10

_ 13 -

## effects of rotational velocity and forward speed (V1 + V2).

On the retreating blade, it is the difference between the two
(V1 V2).

## Because airflow affects lift, then, given equal pitch,

the disc therefore tends to roll to the retreating side.

The

formulas are

CL kc (V1 + V2)2 S

CL tp

(V1 - V2)2 S

## This is known as dissymmetry of lift.

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## In fact, the disc would not roll to the retreating side

a gimbal ring (two-bladed rotor) or flapping hinges (three or
more bladed rotor). As soon as the dissymmetry of lift occurs,
up with increase in lift, and the retreating blade downwards
due to decreased lift.

## causes a further element of relative airflow either up or down,

thus altering the angle of attack to compensate for the effect
of V2 and so restoring equality of lift (Fig. 7). The flapping
caused by dissymmetry of lift will also cause a change of disc

555/3/10

_ lu _
attitude, which will be maximum 90 on from the athwartships
rising in front and the retreating blade falling at the tail. This
tilting back of the disc as a result of forward speed is called
flapback.

See Fig.

8.

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Downward Flopping

## If flap-back is allowed to occur, the direction of useful

force will change, as will the components of lift and thrust,and
equilibrium in forward flight would be impossible. To maintain
a steady forward flight attitude, you therefore need to prevent
flapback from occurring because of V2.
is achieved by a cyclic pitch change. When the cyclic control
is moved forward to begin forward flight, you must move the
stick further forward as soon as the effect of V2 becomes apparent
This means that pitch is reduced where (V1 + V2) is maximum and
increased where (V1 - V2) is minimum.
'

## throughout, so preventing any flapping from taking place. There

is now an angular difference between the plane of the control
orbit and that of the rotor disc, which corresponds to the angle
of flapback of the disc when flapping was allowed to occur.
See Fig. 8. This means that the correction for V2 has been made
by feathering and not by flapping.
If the speed is such that the forward limit of cyclic stick
is reached, then it is impossible to prevent flap-back resulting
from any further increase in speed.

555/3/l0

_ 15 _

Disc

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Control
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Stick

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forward speed

FIG. 8

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Flapback

helicopter are

1.

## Limit of cyclic control,

2.

Reversal of airflow,

3.

H.

Compressibility,

5.

6.

Altitude.

## cyclic control is reached, it is no longer possible to counteract

flap-back, and so any further increase in forward speed is
prevented. Offset flapping hinges, a stabiliser at the tail,
and a delta hinge effect incorporated in the pitch operating arm,
have all been used to overcome cyclic control limits, with the
result that, under normal conditions, the cyclic control is
unlikely to run out of movement before other factors impose their
own limits.

555/3/10

_ 15 _
gr

'1

Reversal of airflow:

ewe

## considering dissymmetry of lift,

we compared rotational speed (V1)
and forward speed (V2). However,
this comparison is true only at
any one station along the blade

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2?

Reversed

awow

FIG 9

In

## W@i because V1 varies along the span,

whereas V2 is constant for the
whole blade. Towards the root of

## the retreating blade, the relative

airflow (V1 V2) can become very
small, and at a high V2, a negative

imoo

quantity.

Reversal of airflow

## affected in this fashion spreads

from the root as V2 increases.

effect.

## factor limiting forward speed is the stalling of the retreating

blade by the cyclic pitch applied to prevent flap-back.

Because

## applied to provide lift, it is easy to reach the critical angle

of the blade and so cause it to stall.

## The symptoms and effects of this stall are similar to those

of the usual fixed-wing stall, that is, judder, loss of lift,
and an increase in drag. No two helicopters react to blade
stall in exactly the same way. Usually, the onset of vibration
and erratic cyclic control forces signals the start of the
condition. As stalling continues to move inward from the tip
area, vibration increases, followed by a partial loss of control
and a nose-up pitching tendency.

## in large rolling tendencies and complete loss of control.

Retreating blade stall imposes a limiting V2 on all helicopters
for any given conditions.

555/3/10

It

_ 17 _

## Compressibilitg: The upper limit for rotor rev/min is

compressibility region, with vibration and loss of efficiency.
To provide a given amount of lift, either a small rotor may
rotate quickly, or a large rotor rotate slowly, the latter being
normally the more efficient.
In either case, the tip speed will
be similar, and compressibility is usually inevitable when the
forward speed (VQ reaches about 200 knots.
Allup weight: The higher the all-up weight of the helicopter,
the greater must be the collective pitch applied to lift that
weight.
The greater the collective pitch applied, the less
cyclic pitch can be used before the stall angle on the retreating
blade is reached. That is, the higher the all-up weight, the
lower the limiting speed V2.
Altitude: As the rotor rev/min must remain more or less
constant, the helicopter will lift less as the altitude increases
because of the reduced air density, and so a greater pitch angle
is needed to lift a given weight. Thus, the higher the altitude,
the greater the collective pitch for a given weight and the lower
the limiting speed at which the critical angle will be reached,
that is, the lower the IAS for retreating blade stall.
For the same reasons, the cyclic control movement at
altitude becomes less effective in terms of disc movement.

To

## counteract the flap-back arising from a given forward speed (IAS)

at increased altitude, you need to make a larger forward control
movement. Consequently, the limit of forward control will be
reached at a lower limiting speed.
Stability
%

## position after being disturbed, it is said to be stable.

If it
remains in its new position, it has neutral stability, and if it
departs farther and farther from its original patch, it is
unstable. The helicopter is unstable in flight so far as changes
of discattitude are concerned because a change of attitude (flare)

555/3/10

_ 18 _
of the disc causes a change in the useful force in both magnitude
and direction. This will, in turn, have a further effect on the
disc.

control.

## Cyclic Control Forces

In forward flight, a lateral force, arising from the reaction
of the control orbit to the forces acting in the pitch operating
arms whenever the control orbit is displaced from the perfect
hover attitude, can cause the aircraft to roll.
Forward flight implies that the control orbit is tilted
forward, and so the maximum forces being exerted in the pitch
operating arms

## axis of the aircraft. Because there is a downwards force on the

advancing side and an upwards force on the retreating side, the
equal and opposite reaction from the control orbit will tend to
tilt it towards the retreating side, which would cause the aircraft to roll in that direction. To prevent this, the pilot
would need to push the cyclic control in the opposite direction.
See Pig. l0.
MAX
In aircraft with manual

## CONTROL ORBIT TILTED FORWARD

FOR FORWARD FLIGHT

MAX react
Down
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HUN

MAX

ROTATION

REA8T|OPf-- DOWN

l
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MAX;-FORCE
UP

FIG. 10

## Control orbit reaction in

forward flight

system to hold the control column
in a given position. The amount
relieve the load will vary with
the forward speed. Another way
of preventing these loads being .
felt by the pilot is to use
irreversibles in the fore and
aft and lateral control runs.

555/3/10

_ 19 _
In aircraft with servo controls, the load is not normally

felt by the pilot because the forces cannot be fed back through
the servo jacks. In the event of a hydraulic system supply
failure, however, the load is felt suddenly and the helicopter tends
to roll violently to the side of the retreating blade. One
helicopter maker used lockload valves on the servos to prevent
those feedback forces being felt, but other helicopter makers
relied on the pilot reducing speed to where the forces became
acceptable. To prevent or reduce the effects of a hydraulic
failure, a duplicate servo system may be provided and powered by a
different hydraulic system.

Vortex Ring
Another name for vortex ring is settling with power.
names are freely used to describe the same condition.

Both

## In normal powered flight, there is an induced flow of air

downwards through the rotor. In the event of a fuselage movement
normal to the rotor disc, it is possible to set up an airflow
relative to the disc directly opposed to the induced flow, which
therefore causes a very confused pattern of flow round the rotor.
This movement of the air on rotor blades at high angles of attack
will stall the blades at the hub. This stalling can move outward
along the blade as the rate of descent increases.
In particular, a turbulent vortex called a vortex ring, is
created around the periphery of the disc.
See Fig. ll. The
combination of conditions in which a vortex ring is likely to
occur are during

l.

rotor,

2.

## Movement of the aircraft causing a relative

flow normal to the disc from the opposite
direction, and

3.

555/3/l0

_ 29 _

..

## The first example in which

the conditions could be met is

*'*'\

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;_

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e__-

FIG. ll_

\
_:f4;}t
\::?

## a vertical descent with power.

Vortex ring is unlikely to occur
in normal conditions until the
rate of descent exceeds 300 ft/min.
As a safety margin, a rate of
250 ft/min should not be exceeded
in a vertical descent in still air.

Vortex ring

## The second example is in a fairly steep flare, where the

aircraft is also being allowed to descend. If power is applied in
this condition, vortex ring can result.
Another example is when power is applied in recovery from an
autorotation.
If the path of movement is normal to the disc, for
example, during descent in autorotation, and power is applied
without a change of disc attitude, then vortex ring can result.
In all cases, the question of wind must be considered. A
head wind of 10 knots or more will normally be enough to prevent
a vortex state from being reached. Remember, however, that it
is possible to lose this headwind component quickly, for example,
descending into a clearing or below high buildings when a vortex
state may result if the rate of descent is too rapid.
Conversely, it is possible to be descending downwind with
ground speed clearly apparent, but with the rotor descending
in relatively still air and therefore subject to vortex ring.
The effects of vortex ring are similar to those of a fixedwing aircraft in a stalled condition.
Initially, the disturbed
flow may result in buffeting and vibration, but these may
disappear in a complete vortex state. There will be a considerable
loss of lift, which will result in the aircraft accelerating in
its original direction of movement, and a large increase in
drag, which will cause loss of rotor rev/min and possible loss

555/3/10

_ 21 _
of directional control.

## have enough weathercock effect on the tail cone to cause sharp

nosedown pitching, which will, in fact, destroy the vortex
condition.
As the vortex condition arises from the confused pattern
of airflow, the introduction of a new component of airflow will
help to remove the vortex state.

## by a change of disc attitude, that is, by a cyclic control

movement. In practice, the control column is normally moved
forward to induce translational flight, but if this is impossible
a lateral or backward movement can be used. As soon as the
disc attitude is altered, full power may be applied to minimise
loss of height.
Power should never be increased before the
control column is moved because this may aggravate the vortex
condition and so increase the rate of descent.
It would also be possible to change the flow by lowering
the lever and autorotating, but the loss of height in effecting
recovery in this way would be considerable. Correct recovery
from a full vortex state will require approximately 300 feet.
Thus, vortex ring below this height is very dangerous, although,
in practice, it is at such heights that the danger is most
likely to arise, for example, descending into confined space,
"quick stop", recovery from autorotation, and so on. It may
be compared with the stall on the approach at low altitude in
the fixed-wing aircraft.

SUMMARY
Dissymetry of lift occurs imediately a horizontal
airflow passes across the rotor disc.
Dissymetry of lift is countered by blade flapping
plus cyclic feathering, which restores equality of
lift.
Flap-back, which occurs because of blade flapping,
is controlled by moving the cyclic control column
forward.

555/3/10

-22..

l.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

Altitude.

## The helicopter is unstable in flight and must be

controlled at all times.
A vortex ring state is an unsafe condition of flight.

PRACTICE EXERCISE B
State whether each of the following statements is true

or false.
l.

flight experiences a decreased airflow over
its surfaces.

2.

## Reversal of airflow occurs on the advancing

half of the rotor disc.

3.

## An upwardflapping blade has a decreased angle

of attack because of the flapping motion.

4.

## Blade stall does not affect the limit of the

forwardflight speed.

5.

will limit the rotor rev/min.

6.

## Because the air is less dense at altitude, the

helicopter will experience less drag and
will have a higher limiting speed.

7.

## Because the helicopter is "suspended" from its

rotor, it has natural stability.

8.

## Vortex ring state is likely to occur if the

rate of descent is more than 300 ft/min.

9.

## Flapback is corrected by a slight increase in

collective pitch.

sss/s/10

...23...

10.

## When the all-up weight of the helicopter is

increased, the limiting speed is reduced.

## CONTROL ON THE GROUND

When the helicopter is on the ground with its rotors turning
several serious problems can arise.
Chief among them, for
helicopters with articulated rotor heads, is ground resonance,
which, if left unchecked, will cause the complete destruction
of the helicopter in a few actionpacked seconds.
Ground Resonance
Ground resonance is a severe low-frequency vibration
resulting from a forced or self-induced vibration of a mass
in contact with the ground.
In the case of the helicopter (the
mass), the vibration can originate either as a disturbance in
the rotor transmitted to an undercarriage in contact with the
ground, or in the undercarriage itself due to mislanding,
rough ground, and so on.
In either case, an element of sympathy
must exist between the original vibration and the natural frequency
of vibration of the other system.
Rotor vibration can arise from any basic unbalance of the
rotor, for example, blades of unequal weight or with their
centres of gravity unequal distances from the centre of the
rotor, or blades producing unequal lift or with their centres
of lift unequal distances from the centre of the rotor. However,
before being mounted on the helicopter, a set of blades is
usually balanced, and so the most likely cause of rotor vibration
is faulty drag dampers. Drag dampers are incorporated to
control the rate of movement about the drag hinges. If they
at different rates and so cause blade unbalance.

555/3/10

- gn -

1Z0

120-

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110'

\
\

\
Q oasc c. ,4 c.

## uusumcen roac: moment ARM NIL

3 :4

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uunuucso roac: uouzur AIM

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FIG. l2

(b)
Vibration from disc unbalance

## A likely cause of rotor vibration is mishandling of the

cyclic control by the pilot.
"Stirring the stick" while the
wheels are on or very near the ground should therefore be
avoided. A similar effect can result from an inexperienced
pilot trying to be too careful about his landing and only
succeeding in touching first one wheel and then the other, so
setting up a "padding" of the undercarriage.
It is easier for a vibration to be set up in the undercarriage, when there is no weight on the wheels, that is, when
the collective pitch is quite high. This state should be
avoided as much as possible by lowering the collective lever
as soon as the wheels touch on landing, and by making a smooth
progressive increase in pitch when taking off, to take the
aircraft well clear of the ground.

555/3/10

_ 35 _

## The nature of the ground that the helicopter is resting on

can influence ground resonance. For example, on landing, one
wheel may slip into a concealed hole or rut, and even this
small movement might set up the required initial vibration.
Forward movement over rough ground would naturally increase the
risk of vibration, and landing across sloping ground can also
have the same effect, particularly if the pilot is unaware of
the slope when landing.
Because the sympathetic frequency of vibration of the
rotor and the undercarriage is an essential feature of ground
resonance, designers choose undercarriage systems that minimise
the possibility of such a sympathy being set up.

If oleo

## ground resonance becomes less likely.

In the event of resonance occurring, the best recovery
action is to take off immediately to hover, where the vibration
should die out quite rapidly. To allow for immediate take-off,
keep the rotor rev/min up to the take-off figure all the time
there is any possibility of ground resonance.

Should it be

## impossible to take off, then the sympathy between rotor and

undercarriage should be destroyed by reducing the rotor rev/min
as quickly as possible, that is,collective down, throttle closed,
switch off, rotor brake on.

Taxying
The thrust for-taxying is provided by the main rotor, with

## the lift component kept to a minimum to avoid ground resonance.

Aim to have the best thrust/lift ratio without having

## an exaggerated forward attitude of the disc and the possibility

of the blades striking their lower stops.

## at the flight figure and steer by using the wheel brakes.

Keep taxying speed down to a walking pace, and avoid rough
ground.

555/3/10

_26_

Blade sailing occurs when the rotor is either starting up
or slowing down in strong, gusty winds. In this event, a
dissymmetry of lift is experienced between advancing and
retreating blades similar to the effect in forward flight. The
down at the rear. If this motion becomes exaggerated (particularly
if it becomes in phase with the natural frequency of vibration
of the blade), it can result in damage to the fuselage. In
extreme cases, blades have been known to strike the ground.
The flapping can be countered to some extent by a small forward
movement of the stick, but be careful, particularly in gusty
conditions, because a sudden reduction of wind might cause the
blade to flap down in front to a dangerous extent.
Because the blades pass nearest to the fuselage when

crossing the tail cone and the blade will be at its lowest
point downwind, it may be advisable to turn the aircraft H5
out of wind, so that the blades pass their lowest point well
clear of the tail cone.
Most helicopters incorporate droop stops, which are held
out of position by centrifugal reaction above approximately
100 rotor rev/min but fall into position below this figure
and restrict the downward droop of the blades. Many helicopters
also have flapping restrainers, which prevent the blades from
flapping up or down below a fixed rotor rev/min. However,
even with droop stops and flapping restrainers, be careful when

## CENTRE OF GRAVITY (c.e.)

The centre of gravity of an aircraft is the point through
which the total of weight forces act.

It is normally calculated

## by reference to the moments of the various weight forces around

a given datum, which in the case of the helicopter, is usually
the centre line of the rotor. The position of the c.g. is then

555/3/10

_ 27 _

## quoted as so many inches or centimetres fore or aft of the datum.

In the helicopter, the relationship between the useful force and
the weight will affect the behaviour of the aircraft in all stages
of flight.
So far, we have assumed that the centre line of the rotor
passes through the c.g. and that the useful force directly
opposes weight.
If, however, the c.g. lies either fore or aft
of the datum, then the resulting couple will cause the aircraft
to adopt a nose-up or nose-down attitude. The disc has to be
maintained in its correct position in space by movement of the
cyclic stick until the line of useful force passes through the
new c.g. and a new state of balance is reached. See Fig. I3.

.
,

/ll
I

C.;_//65

(a) forward
FIG. 13

,/

.
(b) aft
Fuselage attitude with extremes of c.g.

53
\_,

## Two results follow from this. First, the range of movement

of c.g. may be limited by the amount of cyclic stick control.
Secondly,an incorrect position of c.g. will limitinanoeuvrability
in a given direction, for example, limitation of forward speed.

Centre-of-gravity Limits
The theoretical limit of movement of c.g. will be governed
by the extremes of disc attitude because it must be possible
for the line of useful force to pass through the c.g. if
control is to be maintained.
See Pig. lH.
In the case of the
twinrotor helicopter, the range lies midway between the rotors
and is longer than in the single-rotor type.

555/3/10

- Q8 _
The limit increases with the distance between the rotor head
and the c.g. That is, the lower the load and the higher the
rotor head, the wider the limit. A similar effect is achieved
by the use of offset flapping hinges, which give a more
effective disc response in terms of stick movement and therefore
increase the c.g. limits. The practical range laid down by the
designer is naturally much less than the theoretical limit in
order to ensure manoeuvrability and is specified for each type

*.

,.

...

I.

-\

i.

\\

///, /*

\
'* V

FIG. 14

Limits of c.g.

AUTOROTATION

## Autorotation is the condition of flight where the rotor is

being driven by aerodynamic forces derived from an induced upwards
airflow through the rotor as a result of the aircraft descending
with no power applied to the rotor shaft.

It is the safety

## factor in the event of engine failure and is similar to the

ability of the fixed-wing aircraft to glide by maintaining a
given airflow over the aerofoils.
In the event of an engine failure, the rotor profile drag
must be reduced as rapidly as possible, and the angle of attack
must be adjusted in terms of the new relative airflow caused by
the aircraft descending. Both these requirements are met by
lowering the collective pitch lever to its low pitch stops
immediately power is lost. Further alterations to the collective
pitch will have to be made once autorotative rev/min have been
established as the helicopter descends.

555/3/10

-29..

Autorotative Force
if

## The autorotative force is the component of total reaction

acting forward in the plane of rotation,which opposes rotor
a

profile drag.
It depends on the direction of total reaction
relative to the perpendicular to the plane of rotation. See
Fig. l5.
.
\
\

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TOTAL
REACTION

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(a) normal flight
FIG. 15

## (b) autorotative flight

Autorotative force

## The angle of attack (the angle formed between the chord

of the blade and the relative airflow) determines the direction
of the total reaction.

l.

2.

3.

H.

## Figure l6 shows these four factors.

555/3/10

...3Q_

Pch

_ angle

inow
angle

Plane of rotation

if

gpqle

T \

ok mow

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<_

descent

Rotational speed
'

FIG. 16

Forward
speed

## Three of these factors are common to the whole blade, but

the fourth, the rotational speed, varies with the span, with
a consequent variation in angle of attack. Thus, the autorotative characteristics will alter and must be summed up for the
whole blade in order to arrive at its overall autorotative
performance. There is usually an autorotative section of the
blade corresponding to the area of highest L/D ratio, the force
from which will balance the rotor profile drag from the remainder
of the blade and so maintain constant rev/min. Figure 17
compares the forces acting at three different stations along

|_|r1' "2

- TOTAL

E
mm: or ROTATION

_REACTl0I

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5955
.
AUTO-ROTATIVE
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mg-qQ1A'(|yf_
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at

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(B)

CU

ANGLE OF ATTACK
(C)

Z____!

FIG. l7

_

555/3/1O

..3]__.

## An alternative method of deciding the autorotative section

is by comparing the angles between lift and the perpendicular
to the plane of rotation LA, and lift and total reaction LB.
See Fig. 18. The effect on rotor rev/min is as follows.

l.

will increase.

2-

be constant.

3.

decrease.
Z CD -'lF7!

UFT T-FL: T

[_A=lNFLOW ANGLE

LA /

## = AN eta OF ATTA oxPITCH

g1~-/

if

|'//

HTCH

PLANE OF ROTATTON

tan LB.

- 2.L

,,*'

DRAG

lNFLOW\\pAg ml
vetI~E'

FIG. 18

## Comparison of angles between lift, total reaction, and the perpendicu

lar to the plane of rotation

## The blades are rigged to give normal rev/min under given

conditions of flight, namely, a known allup weight giving a
certain rate of descent, a given forward speed, and collective
pitch setting. Under these conditions, the autorotative section
will correspond to that shown in Fig. l7 (b) and I9 (a). This is
not the most efficient autorotative state, which would be
achieved with the autorotative section closer to the tip of the

## blade, but it provides a safety factor. In the event of

external forces tending to slow the blades down, the angle of
attack is increased, hence, the autorotative section moves out,

## speeding up the blade to the original rev/min.

Should the
blades tend to speed up, angle of attack is decreased, autorotative efficiency decreases, and rev/min return to normal.

555/3/lO

...:-32...

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AUTORDTATIVE

SECTION

AN6L. OFATTACK

FIG. l9

## This increased efficiency can be achieved by increasing the

collective pitch. In practice, the pilot can control the rotor
performance with the collective control. However, this is
limited by the danger of reaching the peak of autorotative
efficiency beyond which rev/min will fall off-rapidly.

Minimum

## permissible rev/min in autorotation are therefore governed by

this factor, subject to possible coning angle limitation and an

Forward Speed
As in powered flight, where the transition into forward
flight produces translational lift and enables the power to be
reduced, so in autorotation, increased mass flow through the
blades improves performance, and results in a reduction in
rate of descent. The graph of rate of descent in terms of
forward speed compares very much with the power curve in level
flight, the initial gain being offset by the sharp increase in
parasite drag as speed increases.

## There is a small increase in rate of descent initially

as a result of reducing the effective disc area to the relative
airflow when tilting the disc forward. The optimum speeds for
minimum rate of descent and maximum distance over the ground
can then be found from the graph shown in Fig. 21. In the
latter case,

555/3/10

-33..

Tan 9

Rate of descent
velocity

## Thus, when minimum, it gives a maximum ratio of speed to

rate of descent, which is equivalent to distance covered from
any given height.

RATE OF
DESCENT

RATE BF

amzcr or

5\$5"T

PARASITE DRAG

EFFECT OF

RATE OF DESBENT

rate of descent

ISPEED FOR
IMAX. DIST

_ SPEED FOR Mm

V FQRWARD 5PEE_D
FIG. 20

FIG. 21

V 533;?

## The optimum speeds for

minimum rate of descent
and maximum distance

## In theory, when using either of these speeds, maximum

performance would be obtained by setting the lower figure of
rotor rev/min, but in practice, the higher figure of rev/min
is maintained at the lower speed. Additional speed can, to
some extent, be converted into rev/min by the use of the flare.
This relatively large change of disc attitude has already been
discussed when dealing with transitions in powered flight and
the basic effects remain the same:

l.

## An increase in useful force as a result of

increased angle of attack;

2.

## Change in inflow (in the autorotative case,

this is increased as a result of increasing
the effective disc area);

3.

H.

555/3/IO

and

...3I.I_

## The first two factors result in an increase in lift and

therefore decrease the rate of descent to some extent. The
amount by which rate of descent decreases varies considerably
with aircraft type. The reversal of thrust causes a rapid
decrease in forward speed just before touchdown. The increase
in rev/min appear surprising in view of the increase in angle of
attack and lift, which implies an increase in drag.

'

However, the

## important factor is the relationship of total reaction to the i

plane of rotation as shown in Fig. 22. Because total reaction
moves forward relative to the perpendicular to the plane of
rotation, the autorotative force is increased, causing a rise
in rev/min.
TO T4
.

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FIG. 22

## Increase of rev/min in flare

AIIup weight
The effect on autorotative performance of an increase in
all-up weight is to increase the rate of descent, thus
increasing the mass flow and so causing the rev/min to rise.
This increase in rev/min must be controlled by increasing the
collective pitch, which will restore the descent to a normal
rate.

555/3/lO

'

_ 35 _
Altitude

## The problem of autorotation at altitude is the reduced

density. As in level flight, because the rev/min have to remain
constant, lift will be reduced and therefore the rate of descent
increased. The more important factor is the considerable
increase in rev/min due to the decrease in drag, which must be
controlled by use of the collective lever.
If a helicopter base is sited at a high altitude, you may
need to re-rig the collective control and to reset the collective
pitch/low pitch stops to a higher pitch angle to get efficient
flight at that altitude. If this is done, the low pitch stops
mast be reset before a flight is made to a lower altitude to
ensure that normal autorotative rev/min are available at that
lower altitude.

NOTE:

## If autorotation is being continued from high

altitude to sea level, rev/min are controlled
by a gradual lowering of the lever as density
increases.

Safety Height
Should the engine fail during hover, there will be a loss
of height of approximately 300 feet before a full autorotative
airflow can be established.

## Allowing another lOO feet to make a safe landing, it is

unsafe to be hovering below MOO feet, except that, up to
about IO feet from the ground, a safe landing should be made
simply by cushioning the impact by raising thecollective
lever.

## this safety height can be reduced as speed is increased, until

at approximately H5 knots, you should be able to make a safe
landing from any altitude. Don't, however, fly too low at
high speeds because, in the event of an engine failure, the
aircraft might strike the ground before the speed could be
reduced by flaring.

555/3/IO

_ 35 _

400'

HEGHT

FIG. 23

45 K.
B 5 K.
FORWARD SPEED

## The factors influencing range and endurance are similar

to those for fixed-wing aircraft.

.1

Work

force X distance

Distance

work
force

## To obtain maximum distance, if work is constant, force

must be minimal. The speed (V) to achieve this is obtained
from the power curve, Fig. 24.
Because
POWEI

Tan 6

~r-
velocity

Power

force X velocity

...

and

555/3/1O

..

(2)

-37..

Tan 6

force X velocity
velocity

Force

## Thus, when tan 6 is a minimum (tangent to the curve), force

will be minimum and we have the best speed to give the greatest
range.

## V; = Max endurome speed

Va = Max range speed
ed
rzqur

Power
D
<_-. N

_. _.- (:5

FIG. 24

5peed

## To get the greatest endurance, the work available must be

spread over the longest possible time.

.
.

POWGI

.
Time

work

.
tlm

work

power

## If the work is regarded as constant, power must be minimal

to ensure maximum time. The forward speed to obtain this is
immediately under the lowest point of the power curve.
In Fig. 2H, VI shows the speed for greatest range, and Ve,
the speed for maximum endurance.

555/3/1O

-33-

SUMMARY
Ground resonance is a vibration caused by the
interaction of an unbalanced articulated rotor head
and its undercarriage.
Blade sailing is controlled by flapping restrainers.

## Autorotation is the helicopters equivalent of a

fixedwing aircraft's gliding.
Autorotation rev/min increase with altitude.

PRACTICE EXERCISE C
State whether each of the following statements is true
or false.
l.

2.

## Ground resonance can rapidly lead to the destruction

of the helicopter.
3.

## The position of the centre of gravity will have no

influence on the effectiveness of the cyclic pitch
control.

4.

## Autorotation is to the helicopter as spinning is

to a fixed-wing aircraft.

5.

## If the collective pitch control is raised when the

engine power decreases, the rotor rev/min will
increase.

6.

## An increase in forward speed in autorotation

results in a reduced rate of descent.

7.

min.

8.

altitude.

9.

10.

## The higher the AUW, the greater the rate of descent

and the higher the autorotation rev/min.

555/3/10

_ 39 _

EXERCISE A
Statements 2, 6, and 8 are True.
1.

## False: In a hover in still air, there is no

drag other than rotor profile drag because neither
the aircraft nor the air surrounding it are
moving.

3.

## False: Greater efficiency is had from the rotor

at translational speed due to the increased
mass of air flowing through the rotor. This
means that less power is needed, although
parasite drag will have increased by a small
amount.

H.

## False: The increased mass of air flowing

through the rotor means that induced power
required will decrease as forward speed
increases.

5.

## False: To move forward, the helicopter needs

some thrust.
If this thrust is taken from
the power available, that is just enough for
hover, the helicopter will descend.

7.

## False: When the air density decreases, the mass

flow of air through the rotor disc decreases and
so the lift also decreases. To maintain the
lift, the collective pitch must be increased,
which calls for more power.

9.

## False: In all powered flight, the relative

airflow enters the rotor from above the plane
of rotation.

10.

## False: Ground effect, which is another name

for ground cushion, is taken to extend to a
rotor height above ground of one half of the
rotor diameter.

555/3/10

- ug _
EXERCISE B

## Statements 3, 5, 8, and 10 are True.

1.

increased airflow. That is, it has V
+ Vmwmrd ight

rotor

2.

## False: Reversal of airflow occurs on the

retreating half of the rotor disc.

H.

## False: Stall of the retreating blade because

of the cyclic pitch used to prevent flap-back
places an upper limit to the forward speed.

6.

## False: Because of the decreased air density,

an increase in collective pitch will be needed
to maintain lift. This will cause the stalling
angle of the retreating blade to occur at a
lower forward speed.

7.

## False: Any change in the rotor disc attitude

produces an immediate change in the useful force
in both size and direction. This has a further
effect on the disc, and so the helicopter is
unstable in flight.

9.

## False: A slight increase in collective pitch

will affect all blades in exactly the same
way. A forward movement of the cyclic control
will correct flap-back.

EXERCISE C
Statements 2, 6, 8, and 10 are True.
l.

## False: Faulty dampers cause the blades to move

erratically about their drag hinges to give
rotor imbalance. A low rotor rev/min in a gusting

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3.

## False: If the c. g. is too far forward or too

far aft, the cyclic control will run out of
aftandforward movement sooner than normal.
An incorrect c. g. position thus reduces the
effectiveness of the cyclic control.

4.

## False: Gliding is the fixedwing equivalent

of helicopter autorotation.

5.

## False: Raising the collective control

increases the pitch on all of the blades. If
this is done with decreasing engine power, the
rotor rev/min will quickly decrease.

7.

## False: The increased angle of attack in the

flare causes an increase in the autorotative
force and this, in turn, increases the rotor
rev/min.

9.

## False: Incorrect oleo leg extensions will

allow the fuselage to rock from side to side
in unison with an out-of-balance rotor head.
This rocking motion is ground resonance.

TEST PAPER 10
Make a sketch of a helicopter blade section in
autorotation showing
(a

## The plane of rotation and a perpendicular to

the plane of rotation at the trailing edge of

(b)

(c

(d)

(e

(f)

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(g)

(h)

## the rotors in a vortex ring state. Explain how the

helicopter can enter and recover from this state and
why it is a hazard to flight.

## The power needed by a helicopter for horizontal flight

can be considered in three parts. Name these parts,
and state the use of each power vector.

(a)

(b)

(a)

(b)

(c)

large?

## What is ground resonance? Does it affect all types

of helicopter? When is it most likely to occur, and
what must be done when it does occur?
What
maintenance work can be done to lessen the possibility
of ground resonance occurring?

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-143-

## What factor has the most effect in limitin g th e f orward

speed of the helicopter? What will happen if this
facto r is
'
'
'
ignored?
List
two other factors that also
limit the forward speed.

SSW

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