Composite Main Rotor Blades
Several years ago Erickson was faced with a dire situation for its flagship platform, the S-64: Create more main rotor blades or eventually ground the entire S-64 fleet. Over time these blades wore out due to the high-demand for flight hours of the uniquely-capable heavy lifting S-64. Then came the eventual retirement of the old blades — and the opportunity to engineer a new product that would enhance the S-64 legacy fleet.
Erickson’s New Composite Main Rotor Blades:
- Increases performance at hot and high-altitude conditions
- Lowers cost with advanced composite materials
- Reduces fuel burn significantly
- Extends the performance of the next generation S-64
Testing the Composite Main Rotor Blades
Erickson’s engineers are constantly upgrading the S-64 with improved systems and capabilities, so we have frequent needs to do on-aircraft prototype and certification testing. During this testing, the aircraft is outfitted with a suite of hundreds of sensors, and a data acquisition platform that monitors all types of aircraft system states such as strain levels, torques, pressures, temperatures, etc. Owing to our worldwide operations in extreme environments, we test in all corners of the globe including Europe, South America, Canada, and of course North America’s highest public airport at Leadville, Colorado.
With Erickson’s frequent design improvements, the S-64 will continue to have an outsized role in utility aircraft operations well into the future.
Read a Case Study published by Toray Advanced Composites