Sikorsky has revealed plans to install an advanced hub-mounted vibration suppression system (HMVS) on a company helicopter in the next 12 months that promises a "jet-smooth" cabin experience.
"We expect to drive this technology into all our products once its commercialisation is complete," Jim Kagdis, programme manager for Sikorsky advanced programmes, says.
Co-developed with North Carolina-based corporation Lord and partly funded by the US Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate, HMVS works by controlling vibration at its source - the rotor hub and blades.
Lord has previously described HMVS as "motorised imbalanced rotors that rotate at the blade-pass frequency to create centrifugal forces. Through phasing of the two rotors, the magnitude and orientation of the centrifugal forces can be made to cancel lateral hub vibration."
Vibration is a major concern for helicopter makers and owners. The constant buzzing can cause fatigue both to the crew and the cabin structure.
Some helicopters use vibration isolators tuned to a predetermined in-plane frequency to passively cancel out vibration from the rotors and blades.
Sikorsky believes the HMVS method to actively tune out vibration near its source will be simpler and save weight.
So far, Sikorsky has only completed ground rig testing of the HMVS. After installing the system on a helicopter, Sikorsky will conduct flight tests. The company has not identified the test aircraft.
Source: Flight International