Engineering-speak meets reporter’s brain on V-22 grounding story

NAVAIR helpfully provided journalists an engineering summary to describe the role played by the loose bolts that grounded the BellBoeing V-22 fleet earlier this week. It was my job this morning to summarize their summary for my news story. Here’s what NAVAIR game me:


The swashplates transmit flight control inputs to each proprotor hub and blade assembly.  Each swashplate has an inner rotating ring driven by the proprotor mast and connected to the lower end of three pitch change links. The non-rotating outer ring attaches to three fixed hydraulic swashplate actuators and is restrained from rotation by a four-bar anti drive assembly.    

The swashplate moves in response to flight control commands on a mast-mounted gimbal ring.  The non-rotating ring accepts input from the three hydraulic swashplate actuators, as driven by the Flight Control Computers (FCCs) from outputs from the cyclic control stick, thrust control lever, and rudder pedals in the VTOL mode.  These flight control inputs are transmitted to the proprotor hub assembly through the rotating ring of the swashplate assembly and the three pitch change links.

After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, my liberal arts-trained mind came up with this:





The missing bolts are supposed to hold in place afixed swashplate that transmits flight control inputs governing the V-22′s bladepitch during helicopter mode.

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7 Responses to Engineering-speak meets reporter’s brain on V-22 grounding story

  1. Ran Barton 25 March, 2009 at 6:14 pm #

    As a kid, I read a lot about helicopters, and never once understood a textual description of a swash plate. Then I was given a Lego Technic helicopter set, with blades that varied their pitch via a swash plate. All of a sudden, having assembled it and watching it in motion, it made perfect sense. It’s a hard thing to describe.

    See it here: http://www.1000steine.com/brickset/images/0852-1.jpg

  2. EG 25 March, 2009 at 8:10 pm #

    Stephen,
    How are you going to get that job on Capital Hill if you keep pulling stunts like that?
    You’re going to destroy your political future my lad.

  3. solomon 25 March, 2009 at 9:42 pm #

    500 words when 25 will do! priceless!

  4. EG 26 March, 2009 at 2:37 pm #

    Let see if Stephen can describe a Le’ Rhone rotary engine with such brevity.

  5. Engeneering Expert 27 March, 2009 at 3:51 am #

    The book explains how control theory can be applied to the design of real-world systems and contains many of the authors’ own results developed over 20 years. It shows that the techniques of three term controllers, along with the results on robust and optimal control, are invaluable aids to solving analysis and design problems in many areas of engineering. The book is directed at graduate students and researchers in electrical, mechanical, chemical and aerospace engineering as well as computer science and mathematics. This material has been classroom tested in controls courses at Texas A&M for five years.

  6. helicopter games 20 July, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

    Excellent job.

  7. Shannon Culverhouse 24 July, 2010 at 2:47 am #

    Electronics are the greatest things in the world. Be sure to patent any product idea or invention you come up with. So that noone copies any of your ideas.

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