Helicopter Rotor Performance Presentation

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Helicopter Rotor Performance Presentation

© All Rights Reserved

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• Performance

– Estimation of the installed engine power require for a

given flight operation

– Determination of the maximum level flight speed

– Estimation of the endurance/range

– Since the ability of the helicopter is to hover, this

operation is more important than all the other factors

• Maximum altitude it can hover (in or out of ground effect)

Helicopter Performance

• Economic Performance

– Operation cost (hourly based)

• Fuel consumed

• Parts worn

• Maintenance cost

– Payload

overriding concern

Helicopter Performance

• Tactical performance (Manoeuvrability)

– Tail rotor power

• Yawing ability

• Crosswind ability

– Range of CM positions

– Underslung weight

Helicopter Performance

• Safety

– Operating the helicopter outside its designed

performance envelope may result in excessive

stresses.

– The limits of the performance envelope must then be

established and made available to the operator

– Safety under abnormal situations is also important:

• Autorotation performance (engine power loss)

• Twin engine operation with one engine inoperative

• Operations under icing conditions

Hover Performance

• In hover T=W and the power estimation is:

• Notes:

– Valid for rectangular blade

– Hover power is a function of:

• Helicopter weight

• Air density

Hover Performance

• To standardise the air density (ICAO/ICAN):

– Temperature 15º C

– Barometric pressure 1013.3milibar (=101.3N/m2)

– Density 1.225Kg/m3

with height (h)

Hover Performance

• In the lower atmosphere where helicopters

normally fly (below 6000m) the standard value of

the air density can be closely approximated by

the equation:

Hover Performance

• Up to 11km the pressure p and temperature T´ are

related by:

km of altitude. R* is the Universal Gas Constant.

• The temperature in the standard atmosphere is a

linearly decreasing function of altitude and can

be expressed by:

Hover Performance

• Integrating the previous differential equation

gives the relation between temperature and

pressure :

– With

• hp (pressure altitude) in meters

• 0 indicating sea level

Hover Performance

• The relation between altitude and density is given

by:

• With

– hρ (density altitude) in meters

– 0 indicating sea level

Hover Performance

• The previous expressions are obtained with the

temperature varying with altitude according the

expression:

the density altitude

Hover Performance

• If not then we must correct for the non standard

temperature:

pressure altitude by 9.14m per ºC that the

temperature exceeds the standard value

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Helicopter Performance Slide 12

Hover Performance

13% increase

Hover Performance

• Variation with altitude:

– FM can be considered as non-varying

– k can be considered as non-varying

– Engine power will decrease

• Reciprocating engine: A good approximation of this

variation is

Hover Performance

Climb Performance

• We have seen that the induced velocity at a climb

velocity of Vc is:

• Remembering that:

Climb Performance

• The velocity VC can be obtained from the

relation:

• And we can write

Climb Performance

Forward Flight Performance

• Forces acting on the helicopter:

Forward Flight Performance

• The power necessary for the helicopter in

forward flight can be written as:

• With:

– Pi the induced power

– P0 the profile power

– Pp the parasite power

– Pc the climb power

• Note that we should also add the Tail Rotor power

Forward Flight Performance

small: Vc=V∞ θFT

• And the vertical equilibrium:

Tcos(αTPP-θFP)=W ≈T

Forward Flight Performance

• For the horizontal equilibrium:

Tsin(αTPP-θFP)=DFPcos θFP

equation can be written as:

T(αTPP-θFP)=Df or

Forward Flight Performance

• The power necessary to perform this manoeuvre:

– And we can write:

Forward Flight Performance

• DfV∞ is the parasite power Pp

– And we can write:

• Sref is a reference area

• CDf is the fuselage drag coefficient based on Sref

• Therefore:

• Since Defining

Forward Flight Performance

• f is the “equivalent wetted area” or “equivalent

flat plate area”

• We can then write

• Typical values of f :

– Small helicopters 0.93m2

– Large utility helicopters 4.65m2

Forward Flight Performance

• We have already seen that for sufficiently high

forward velocity µ>0.1 the induced velocity can

be approximated by the asymptotic result:

Large µ

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Helicopter Performance Slide 26

Forward Flight Performance

• Using the BET the profile power can be

calculated using:

• Neglecting the radial component of U

Forward Flight Performance

• An analytical expression of CP0 can be obtained

the following approximation can be made:

In practice a single average value is used (4.6-

4.7)

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Helicopter Performance Slide 28

Forward Flight Performance

• These results underpredicts the experimental

values because several assumptions were made.

• Among them:

Forward Flight Performance

• Drag Divergence at a fixed alpha or Cl

Cd

advancing side, near the tip.

• Mdd: Mach number at which drag rises at the rate of 0.1

per unit Mach number. Curve slope=0.1.

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Helicopter Performance Slide 30

Forward Flight Performance

• The compressibility effects can be introduced

using the following estimation (Gessow and

Crim):

Forward Flight Performance

• Another approach is suggested by Harris for

blades with different thickness-to-chord ratio:

• With

Forward Flight Performance

• With the introduction of these models the profile power

is overpredicted:

• This is essentially because there is a relaxation of the

compressibility effects at the edge of a lifting surface of

finite span.

– Approximations for the effect can be developed based on

transonic similarity rules

• The effect was first noticed in experiments on

propellers, which showed that losses in propulsion

efficiency did not occur until the tip Mach number well

exceeded the estimated 2D drag divergence number.

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Helicopter Performance Slide 33

Forward Flight Performance

• Tip relief effects can be accounted for in the BET using

a effective local Mach number at each blade element in

the tip region that exceeds the drag divergence number:

• With:

– Mdd2 is the 2D drag divergence Mach number

– Mdd3 is the 3D drag divergence Mach number (with tip relief

that exceeds Mdd2 by 10-15%)

– ARblade is blade aspect ratio (R/c)

Forward Flight Performance

• Never the less there were still several

simplification introduced. Among them:

– Does do take into account the reverse flow region

• Remember the example in BET theory:

• Not valid in separated region of the return blade. Assuming

double Cd0 in the reverse flow region

Forward Flight Performance

• Never the less there were still several

simplification introduced. Among them:

– No radial flow is included

• Including (numerically) can be approximated to:

Forward Flight Performance

• Finally we can estimate the tail rotor power:

surface is used to create a side force.

• The interference between the main rotor and the

tail rotor can be accounted for using a induced

power factor kTR.

Forward Flight Performance

• Having calculate the necessary tail rotor thrust

the same procedure established for the main rotor

can be used for the tail rotor.

low on a first estimation we can used that the

power for the tail rotor is a fraction of the main

rotor (typically 5 to 10%)

Forward Flight Performance

• The total power for the main rotor is therefore:

Forward Flight Performance

Forward Flight Performance

Possible airspeeds

Forward Flight Performance

• We have seen that the necessary power is a

function of the helicopter gross weight:

Forward Flight Performance

• We also have seen that the necessary power is a

function of the air density (altitude):

available due to altitude

Lift to Drag ratio

• Remember that the rotor generates lift and

propulsion. The lift is:

L=TcosαTPP

• The effective drag can be calculated from the

power expended:

D=P/V∞

– If the calculation is for the rotor alone P=Pi+P0

– If the calculation is for the complete helicopter

P=Pi+P0+Pp+PTR

Lift to Drag ratio

• The Lift to Drag ratio can then be calculated:

– For the case of the rotor alone:

Forward Flight Performance

Climb Performance

• Rearranging the terms in the power equation we

can obtain:

Climb Performance

• It is realistic to assume that that for low rates of

climb (or descent) the rotor induced power, Pi,

the profile power P0, and the airframe drag D

remain nominally constant:

situation without climb, that is at level flight.

Climb Performance

• To calculate the maximum climb velocity we just

have to substitute, in the last expression, P with

Pa which is the available power at that height

Climb Performance

Climb Performance

Important Forward Speeds

Speed for minimum power

• The maximum possible rate of climb is obtained

at the speed of minimum power in level flight.

– This is the Vmp velocity

• We have already established that:

neglected. Also consider that we have a level

flight. Then

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Helicopter Performance Slide 53

Speed for minimum power

• To obtain the minimum power we differentiate

the previous expression in respect to µ:

minimum power is:

Speed for minimum power

• Recalling that :

• We can write

Speed for minimum power

• Vmp is higher for:

– Higher W

– Lower ρ

• Higher Altitudes

• Higher Temperatures

higher

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Helicopter Performance Slide 56

Endurance

• Generally it is sufficient accurate to estimate the

endurance by dividing the usable fuel on board

by the average fuel flow rate.

• A more precise estimation can be found using

(McCormick 1950):

when we study the helicopter range:

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Helicopter Performance Slide 57

Speed for maximum range

• Range: The distance an aircraft can fly for a

given takeoff weight and for a given amount of

fuel.

• This is obtained when the aircraft is operating at

the minimum P/V.

• Or it can be consider that it must operate a the

maximum V/P that is a the maximum L/D ratio

• This speed is called Vmr.

Important Forward Speeds

Speed for maximum range

• The ratio P/V can be approximated by CP/µ so

that:

Speed for maximum range

• Which gives:

• Or the velocity for maximum range Vmr:

– Higher W

– Lower ρ

• Higher Altitudes

• Higher Temperatures

Range

• McCormick establish the basic analysis for an

aircraft, and this can be adapted for the

helicopter:

– The fuel flow rate in relation to the travelled distance

R´ is:

– Where :

• P is the power

• V the velocity

• SFC is the specific fuel consumption

Range

• The power required varies with gross weight and

density

• The SFC varies with the power and density

• The following considerations have to be made:

– The Helicopter burns fuel during take-off, climb,

descent and landing

– It must have a mandate fuel reserve

– As the fuel is burned the weight decreases

• For these reasons the previous expression must

be integrated numerically to get the range

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Helicopter Performance Slide 63

Range

• However the equation can be realistically

evaluated at a point in the cruise where the

helicopter weight is equal to the helicopter gross

take-off weight minus half of the initial fuel

weight. Therefore:

Range

Maximum forward velocity

• The maximum forward velocity will depend on:

– Gearbox (transmission) torque limits

– Rotor Stall

– Compressibility effects

– Aeroelastic and structural constrains

Maximum forward velocity

Co-Axial rotors

• Payne (1959) established a simple momentum study of

the co-axial helicopter:

• First assumption:

– Each rotor produces an equal amount of thrust, therefore the

total thrust is 2T

• Induced velocity:

• Induced power:

Co-Axial rotors

• If we take each rotor separately the induced

power for each rotor is Tvi and the sum of the two

is:

factor:

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Helicopter Performance Slide 69

Performance

of coaxial helicopter

Tandem Rotors

T1

T2

m(T1+T2)

• T1≠T2

• The induced power for each area is:

Tandem Rotors

• The total induced power for the tandem rotor is:

rotors is:

Tandem Rotor

• Harris suggest an approximation:

• Note that:

Tandem Rotor

Tandem Rotor

• It can be seen that even if the two rotors are

separated the power required for the rear rotor is

higher than the power required for the front rotor.

• This is caused by the fact that the rear rotor

operates at the slipstream of the front rotor.

• The total induced power can be calculated using:

Autorotation

• Definition:

– Self sustained rotation of the rotor without the

application of any shaft torque.

• The power to drive the rotor comes from the

relative airstream that passes through the rotor as

the helicopter descends.

• There is an energy balance between the decrease

of potential energy per unit time and the power

required to sustain the rotor speed.

Autorotation

• The pilot gives up altitude in a controlled manner

in return for energy necessary to turn the rotor

and produce thrust.

place in the turbulent wake state.

• At higher forward speeds the flow through the

rotor tends to be smoother in the autorotation

condition.

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Helicopter Performance Slide 77

Autorotation

• Let's consider that there is no forward speed

during the autorotation manoeuvre.

• During autorotation the inflow angle must be

such that there is no in-plane force, and therefore

no contribution to the rotor torque

Therefore

Autorotation

• If we assume a uniform inflow over the disk:

outboard section.

higher than in the outboard section

Autorotation

Inboard Outboard

Autorotation

Autorotation

• The rotor will adjust its velocity (Ω) until the

equilibrium is obtained.

• This equilibrium is stable since:

– Increasing Ω will decrease and the driving region

will decrease inboard which will decrease Ω

– Decreasing Ω will increase and the driving region

will increase outboard which will increase Ω

• The fully established autorotative state is stable

• For a single section in equilibrium:

Autorotation

Autorotation in forward flight

Autorotation in forward flight

• In autorotation CQ=0

• As a first approximation:

• Solving for λc

Autorotation in forward flight

Autorotative index

• The autorotative performance depends on several

factors:

– Disk Loading

– Stored kinetic energy

– Subjected assessments by pilots

design studies an “Autorotative Index” is often

used

Autorotative index

• The Autorotative index is basically an energy

factor:

– Bell used the ratio of kinetic energy to the aircraft

gross weight:

Autorotative index

• The absolute value of the AI is of no significance

• The relative values enables the comparison

between a new project and an existing helicopter

with acceptable autorotative performance

• Acceptable AI for a single engine helicopter is 20

• Acceptable AI for a multi engine helicopter is 10

• For pilots the Autorotative characteristics are

normally expressed in “Equivalent hover time”.

– The design goal is 1.5 s

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Helicopter Performance Slide 89

Height-Velocity Curve

Height-Velocity Curve

• The power curve crosses the ideal autorotation

line at:

• In practice the value will be higher than this due

to the fact that beside the induced losses we also

have to overcome the profile losses

Height-Velocity Curve

• The climb (descent) velocity is

autorotative rate of descent and therefore the HV

curve

• The number of engines will also affect the HV

curve

Height-Velocity Curve

Single engine Helicopter

Height-Velocity Curve

Multi-engine Helicopter

Ground effect

• When a helicopter is close to the ground its

performance is going to change.

• The rotor slipstream is going to expand rapidly as

it approaches the ground.

• This alters the:

– Slipstream velocity

– Induced velocity

– Rotor thrust

• Although this is a well known fact the

aerodynamics are still not fully understood.

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Helicopter Performance Slide 95

Ground effect

• Cheesman & Bennet examined this problem

analytically using a image method:

thrust for the same power:

Ground effect

• Or it can be seen at a reduction of the rotor

induced velocity (for constant thrust)

• Betz suggested:

Ground effect

• Hayden curve fit experimental data and

suggested:

Ground effect

Forward flight in near the ground

Forward flight in near the ground

Forward flight in near the ground

Forward flight in near the ground

Performance in manoeuvring Flight

• Manoeuvre requirements will set the ultimate

flight capability for a helicopter

• The prediction of rotor air loads under

manoeuvring conditions forms an essential part

of the overall design process

• This is a difficult task made even more

complicated by:

– The generally non-linear aerodynamics of the rotor.

– Complex rotor/helicopter kinematics

Performance in manoeuvring Flight

• Manoeuvre issues are of particular importance

for military helicopters:

– Steep turns and rollovers

– High rate of descent in combat landing zones

– Quick pop-up-pop-down manoeuvres for battlefield

observation

Performance in manoeuvring Flight

• The ability of the helicopter to manoeuvre

depends in part on:

– Excess power

– Excess thrust

Performance in manoeuvring Flight

• The ability to produce a given load factor on the

rotor depends on:

– The ability of the helicopter to sequence a manoeuvre

using the normal flight controls

– The effective management of potential, kinetic and

rotor kinetic energy by the pilot

– Excess energy or power available at that speed

– Ability of the rotor to actually use the excess power

and produce a load factor without stalling

– Structural strength and aeroelastic margins of the

rotor

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Helicopter Performance Slide 107

Steady manoeuvres

• For a steady manoeuvre the forces are at

equilibrium

• Let us consider a level banked turn with radius

Rturn

• There is a centripetal acceleration

aCT=V2∞/Rturn

• The centrifugal force will be

FCF=maCT=(W/g)(V2∞/Rturn)

Steady manoeuvres

and the centrifugal force

Steady manoeuvres

• The load factor n on the rotor is:

• And therefore

Steady manoeuvres

• The power required in turning flight bank angle

can be determined using the model based in the

momentum theory

be assumed to be a fraction of the main rotor

power)

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Helicopter Performance Slide 111

Transient manoeuvres

• The analysis of transient manoeuvres can be

approached by energy methods.

• Potential energy

• Transitional kinetic energy

• Rotational kinetic energy

Transient manoeuvres

• The time rate of transfer of energy between these

three different energy states is equivalent to the

power required to change the energy level.

Transient manoeuvres

• Let us consider a helicopter undergoing a simple

pull-up manoeuvre

ability to produce a acceleration through the

application of blade pitch.

Transient manoeuvres

• The excess power ∆P over the power required P

at a given airspeed V∞ is available to produce

extra rotor thrust ∆T and, therefore, to produce an

acceleration

Transient manoeuvres

• The ability to produce this load factor depends on

the stall margin of the rotor, which can be

defined in terms of the value

exceeded before the power limit is reached

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Helicopter Performance Slide 116

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