AgustaWestland Wraps Blade Testing
AgustaWestland announced it has successfully completed flight testing of the new-generation BERP IV main rotor blades on the AW-101 (née EH-101). They will enter service early this year on the British Royal Air Force fleet of AW-101 Merlins. The blades are offered as an option on new helicopters or available for retrofit.
The blades first flew in September 2006. During the test campaign, the AW-101 flew at speeds up to 198 knots and at altitudes up to 13,000 feet. Aircraft fitted with BERP IV blades have also been flown at weights up to 36,300 pounds–2,000 pounds over the current AW-101 maximum takeoff weight. The blades incorporate an improved planform, new airfoil sections and an advanced aeroelastically tailored structure. These provide reduced vibration, 10 knots of additional cruise speed and 1,430 pounds more lift.