Carson Helicopters of Perkasie, Pa., has been granted FAA certification for new main rotor blades for the Sikorsky S-61. The design incorporates two airfoils and 12 degrees of twist, giving the venerable Sikorsky workhorse 2,000 pounds more lift in a hover and adding 15 knots to the cruise speed compared with the standard metal blades at the same power settings. Carson has signed a contract with NASA for exclusive use of the airfoils.
In the arcane world of helicopter rotor aerodynamics, two concepts that show promise for enhancing safety and performance in the world of high-density-altitude heavy lift are under development on opposite sides of the U.S. Briefings on both were presented at the American Helicopter Society’s annual forum last month in Phoenix.
AvAero, a maker of Learjet hush kits, has received an STC for a fuel-saving aerodynamic modification of the Boeing 737-200/300. The company claims the mod will decrease the twinjet’s fuel burn by an average of 4 percent, equating to about a 230-pph fuel-burn reduction. By repositioning the trailing-edge flaps, AvAero said it increases aft wing camber, which lets the airfoil generate the same lift at a lower angle of attack.
Airfoil Services of Malaysia, a joint venture between MTU Aero Engines and Lufthansa Technik, has moved into a new production facility about four times the size of its original location. The new facility, located in Kota Damansara, near Kuala Lumpur, represents an investment of about $14 million. There are currently 350 employees, and that number is expected to increase by about 150 over the next few years.
In the January issue of AIN (page 39), we recounted the origins of the Learjet, complete with references to the well worn tale of the Swiss fighter connection. We then heard from Bill Lear’s eldest son, who suggested that “since you can’t get it straight from the horse’s mouth, here it is from the horse’s offspring, who followed closely in the horse’s hoofsteps!”
AvAero of Safety Harbor, Fla., announced that Falconbridge Mining is the first customer for the FuelMizer aerodynamic modification of the Boeing 737-200/300. AvAero, which received FAA approval in April last year, EASA certification in August last year and Transport Canada approval last month, claims the FuelMizer will decrease the twinjet’s fuel burn by an average of 4 percent.
Honda’s “research project” light jet now has its first logbook entry. The six-passenger HondaJet (its now-official provisional name) broke ground for the first time on December 3 from Honda’s purpose-built research facility at Piedmont Triad Regional Airport (GSO), Greensboro, N.C., on the leasehold of FBO and mod specialist Atlantic Aero.
Winglets increase efficiency by reducing lift-induced drag. They do this by relocating and diminishing the vortex at the wing’s tip, resulting in lower fuel burn, higher cruise speed and longer range.
A new FAA Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO 06014) has been published to emphasize that if pilots plan to take off with polished frost on the wings or control surfaces as currently permitted by regulations, they should do so only in accordance with an aircraft manufacturer’s approved procedures.
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