Airbus Studying Blue Edge Blade on H225

 - April 17, 2017, 10:17 AM
A full-size mockup of the H160 at Airbus Helicopter's Singapore facility includes the company's advanced Blue Edge blades. (Photo: Chen Chuanren/AIN)

Airbus Helicopters is considering installing its advanced Blue Edge rotor blades on the H225 medium-lift helicopter. Currently, the Blue Edge blades are used on the company’s new H160 (formerly the X4) that was launched at Heli-Expo 2015.

Speaking to AIN before this week’s inaugural Rotorcraft Asia exhibition in Singapore, Fabrice Rochereau, Airbus Helicopters vice-president and head of sales for Southeast Asia and Pacific, said the company’s design office is exploring installation of the Blue Edge blades on the H225, as well as on other helicopters in its portfolio. The Blue Edge blades feature a double-swept rotor tip and reduce blade-vortex interaction that occurs when the blade interacts with the vortex caused by the spinning blade ahead.

“We have to first complete certification on the H160 before we go on to other aircraft, but the Blue Edge concept works well,” he said. The H160 completed cold-weather trials in Canada in January and the third prototype, with new cowling shape, blade length and avionics improvements, is now being completed.

Tests of Blue Edge blades on the EC 155 have revealed that they can reduce noise by three to four decibels. “We believe that just the shape of the blades improves the fuel efficiency and increases the payload by 50 to 100 kilograms [110 to 220 pounds],” he said. Rochereau also highlighted that the benefits of the technology wouldn’t be as profound on smaller helicopters, as it carries a payload increase of approximately 15 to 20 kg (33 to 44 lb).