AirDyn: an instrumented model-scale helicopter for measuring unsteady aerodynamic loading in airwakes

Wang, Y. and Curran, J. and Padfield, G. D. and Owen, I. (2011) AirDyn: an instrumented model-scale helicopter for measuring unsteady aerodynamic loading in airwakes. Measurement Science and Technology, 22 (4). pp. 1-12. ISSN 0957-0233

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This paper describes the design, calibration and application of an instrument that measures the effects of unsteady air flow (airwake) on a helicopter in flight. The instrument is a 1/54th-scale model helicopter that is mounted on a six-component dynamic force balance to measure the forces and moments that an airwake imposes onto the helicopter; it is therefore an ‘Airwake Dynamometer’ to which we have given the name AirDyn. The AirDyn has been
designed, in particular, to measure the effect of a ship airwake on a helicopter translating over the ship’s landing deck. The AirDyn, which has been implemented in a water tunnel, in preference to a wind tunnel, senses the integrated effect of a turbulent airwake on the helicopter, and the resulting unsteady forces and moments are an indication of the workload the pilot would need to exert to counteract these effects in a real helicopter. Binocular sensing elements and semiconductor strain gauges have been adopted to achieve high sensitivity and relatively high stiffness. The compact strain gauge balance is fitted into the helicopter fuselage, and protective coatings and a flexible bellows are used to seal the balance and protect
it from the water. The coefficient matrix of the AirDyn has been obtained by static calibrations, while impulse excitation tests have confirmed that its frequency response is suitable for the measurements of unsteady loads. The application of the instrument is illustrated by using it to quantify the effect that a bulky ship mast has on the airwake and thus on a helicopter as it lands onto a simplified ship in a scaled 50 knot headwind.

Keywords:aerodynamic loads, airwake, helicopter loads, pilot workload, water tunnel tests
Subjects:H Engineering > H300 Mechanical Engineering
Divisions:College of Science > School of Engineering
ID Code:6299
Deposited On:27 Sep 2012 14:45

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