Innovative composit's rotors for ultra-light helicopters.
Operational Programme Intelligent Development 1/1.1.1/2015. Project realized from 1.01.2016 to 31.12.2018
contribution of european funds
The subject of the project is to carry out industrial research and development work aimed at mastering complex technological process of creating rotors for rotorcrafts, and in particular, for helicopters, and subsequently, to develop on its basis commercial trade products. This action is the company’s answer to a clear market demand of foreign customers, as part of the global trend to replace rotors in helicopters from traditional duralumin or mixed duralumin and composite construction to innovative, fully composite solutions which help to improve the construction performance and extent its service life. The general idea is to combine the forces of two national industry leaders: The Applicant, who currently has the most extensive experience in the country in the production of authoritative rotors for gyroplanes and is the only such company in the country, and the industry leader in research and development in aviation, which is the Institute of Aviation in Warsaw. To achieve the objectives of the project, there will be carried out computational analyses of CFD aerodynamics and flight mechanics, capacity of materials FEM, material testing of composite, technological tests of the latest available fibres of polymeric composites, strength tests of root portions and nodes. Rotors, as physical objects, will undergo testing on the ground on dedicated test positions as well as functional tests in the air. As a result, the Applicant’s company intends to strengthen its position as an industry leader in the country, and join the global group of the few providers of helicopter rotors.
The overall objective of the project is to extend the scope of activities and improve the innovativeness of solutions offered by Gyro-Tech and, consequently, increase the company’s competitiveness on the world markets by introducing modern helicopter rotors to the production (based on the latest technologies and achievements at the disposal of the national scientific bodies) – i.e. in the rapidly expanding field of aviation which are light helicopters, and at the express demand of the customers. The Institute of Aviation will be the subcontractor in the project. Thanks to its extensive research and human resources, the Institute will implement these stages of the project. For the company, these will be new products, expanding the existing offer, while on the global market, they will constitute significantly improved products.
This project makes it possible to achieve in this regard a level similar to the standards of the largest helicopter companies in the world. Helicopter rotors, referred to as the so-called “basic” rotors, i.e. based on the company’s existing knowledge and experience in the production of gyroplane rotors, are expected to be the basic results of the project. These rotors will use known and proven helicopter profiles, such as NACA23012 and typical rectangular contours which are developed at the express demand of foreign customers, reported by appropriate letters of intent and agreements. In addition, in collaboration with the scientific co-operator, there will be developed modern rotors, hereinafter referred to as “innovative”, since they will present all the possible technical advantages to be achieved in the financial framework and timeliness of the project. Their basic functionalities and innovative features that make them attractive as commercial products are focused in the following three areas:
1. As for aerodynamics, new blades will have a specially designed profile, enhancing the rotor characteristics, and thus the characteristics of the entire helicopter. Increase of the maximum speed to the values comparable with modern ultralight airplanes will allow the helicopters of this class to be changed from the tourism and sports equipment to a wholesome means of transport. This feature is highly desirable not only from Gyro-Tech’s point of view, but also the entire helicopter industry.
2. As for the construction, production technology of blades based on carbon-epoxy composites will allow to meet the most rigorous and critical – both for performance and safety of the entire structure – requirements for the rotor. Safety is an essential condition for the selection of components for aircraft structures, both for manufacturers and users of helicopters.
3. Generally, project work will consist of static and functional tests and computational analyses, confirming compliance with the requirements of aviation regulations. Rotor blades with full documentation, facilitating the certification of helicopters with these rotors, will be the most valuable of the entire market offer.
The project will result in the development of a family of at least two types of rotors for light and ultralight helicopters, their material examination in positions on the ground, and demonstration of their world-class quality in the air, i.e. high aerodynamic characteristics, safety, reliability, and thus, the highest competitiveness against global products.