Eurocopter test flew an EC145 helicopter equipped with a five-blade bearingless rotor system from its Donauwörth plant in Germany late last month.


The European helicopter manufacturer has designed the advanced technology rotor (ATR) for 4t-class helicopters. Eurocopter has previously flight tested an EC145 with a four-blade bearingless rotor, although Eurocopter claims the five-bladed ATR will offer reduced vibration and improved flight characteristics.

The five-blade rotor is “aimed at achieving maximum performance with minimum noise”, says the head of Eurocopter’s vehicle technology and materials programme, Marius Bebesel. He adds that its reduced noise profile is because of the increased range over which the rotor speed can be varied.

The company also claims the design, with a divider between the blade and its root, permits quick folding, adaptation of the blades for special uses and the realisation of product family concepts in manufacturing.

The ATR was developed under the bearingless active rotor system programme, which is sponsored by the German ministry of economics and technology.

Development of the ATR began with the hingeless main rotor with composite blades, used on Eurocopter’s BO105 and BK117 helicopters.

Source: Flight International