Investigation into the Use of Reinforced Plastics in the Wessex Helicopter to Prevent Corrosions
WESTLAND AIRCRAFT LTD YEOVIL (UNITED KINGDOM) YEOVIL United Kingdom
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Magnesium is used extensively in the Westland Wessex helicopter for transmission castings and in the skin-stringer constructed fuselage. Replacement of magnesium by a glass fabric reinforced resin composite was found to solve corrosion problems in the case of the tail gearbox fairing. Three tail gearbox fairings were built two were required to compare stiffness and impact resistance with the metal counterparts and the third was required to establish that adequate resistance to simulated aerodynamic leads was obtained. The tests were performed satisfactorily and the properties measured gave good agreement with those of the metal components. The use of reinforced plastic for the cabin door proved unsatisfactory. A design study of the proposed replacement of the engine nose door by a reinforced plastic component showed that this could be done with advantage, both with sandwich and with skin-stringer types of construction certain essential metallic components would be retained, but aluminum and titanium alloys would be used in place of magnesium in order to minimise corrosion effects.