Aeromechanical stability of helicopters with composite rotor blades in forward flightThe aeromechanical stability, including air resonance in hover, air resonance in forward flight, and ground resonance, of a helicopter with elastically tailored composite rotor blades is investigated. Five soft-inplane hingeless rotor configurations, featuring elastic pitch-lag, pitch-flap and extension-torsion couplings, are analyzed. Elastic couplings introduced through tailored composite blade spars can have a powerful effect on both air and ground resonance behavior. Elastic pitch-flap couplings (positive and negative) strongly affect body, rotor and dynamic inflow modes. Air resonance stability is diminished by elastic pitch-flap couplings in hover and forward flight. Negative pitch-lag elastic coupling has a stabilizing effect on the regressive lag mode in hover and forward flight. The negative pitch-lag coupling has a detrimental effect on ground resonance stability. Extension-torsion elastic coupling (blade pitch decreases due to tension) decreases regressive lag mode stability in both airborne and ground contact conditions. Increasing thrust levels has a beneficial influence on ground resonance stability for rotors with pitch-flap and extension-torsion coupling and is only marginally effective in improving stability of rotors with pitch-lag coupling.
Smith, Edward C. (NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Chopra, Inderjit (Maryland Univ. College Park, United States)