An Assessment of Modern Methods for Rotor Track and Balance
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSONAFB OH DEPT OF AERONAUTICS AND ASTRONAUTICS
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One routine maintenance item facing the helicopter industry today is the issue of rotor track and balance RTB. While the task of reducing vibrations is often overlooked as simply an unimportant maintenance concern, what should not be overlooked is the extensive amount of time and money committed by maintenance to smoothing an aircraft. If there were a way to make the process of rotor track and balance more efficient it would be a huge boost to the helicopter industry in both time and money. The first steps towards research into new and improved methods is to evaluate what is currently used in the field, determine if there is room for improvement and if so what can be improved. While each company may use a slightly different approach to correct the problem, each method has essentially the same objective--to reduce vibrations in the helicopter structure due to main and tail rotor rotation. This document reflects the findings of a study done to gather information and evaluate the different RTB methods that currently exist, pinpointing the existing weaknesses in the process. In most all cases, a qualitative approach was used in determining problems and comparing current systems as the actual proprietary algorithms used by RTB companies were unavailable.