The Heli-Expo 2010 trade show is spotlighting a range of innovations that will help keep American Eurocopter at the forefront of the U.S. rotary-wing marketplace with helicopters that are even safer and more environmentally friendly.
Technologies displayed at Heli-Expo 2010 by parent company Eurocopter (stand #3128) include revolutionary main rotor blade designs that reduce noise and vibration, eco-efficient engine concepts, and software and cockpit technologies â€“ combined with advanced training methods â€“ to enhance safety.
â€œEurocopter is focusing its efforts on innovations that address the most important issues facing the helicopter industry today and tomorrow: improving operation safety, and reducing the environmental signature of rotary-wing aircraft,â€ said American Eurocopter President and CEO Marc Paganini.
Innovations aimed at delivering improved environmental performance are grouped under Eurocopterâ€™s bluecopterÂ® program, which includes the Blue Edgeâ„¢ and Blue Pulseâ„¢ main rotor blade technologies.
The futuristic-looking Blue Edgeâ„¢ main rotor blade has a double-swept shape to change the blade-vortex interaction (BVI) that occurs at the tip of any helicopter blade â€“significantly reducing noise levels created during a typical descent profile.
This maturing noise reduction technology has been validated since 2007 in Eurocopter flight trials using a five-blade Blue Edgeâ„¢ main rotor on an EC155, showing a 3-4 dB noise reduction that effectively halves a helicopterâ€™s noise profile during descent.
Eurocopterâ€™s Blue Pulseâ„¢ technology is an active main rotor system that addresses noise levels generated by the interference of the rotor blade tip vortices from one rotor blade with the following blades.
The Blue Pulseâ„¢ control system uses three flap modules located at the trailing edge of each rotor blade. The bladesâ€™ piezoelectric actuators move the rotor flaps 15 to 40 times per second in order to completely neutralize the â€œslap noiseâ€ typically associated with helicopters during descent. The Blue Pulseâ„¢ technology has been flying since 2005, showing a noise reduction of up to 5 dB.
Also exhibited on Eurocopterâ€™s Heli-Expo 2010 display stand is the OPOCâ„¢ (Opposite Piston Opposite Cylinder) engine from U.S.-based EcoMotors International, which illustrates Eurocopterâ€™s goal of flying a light helicopter powered by a diesel engine.
The EM100 is a compact, high-compression engine that operates on the 2-cycle principleâ€”generating one power stroke per crank-revolution per cylinder. It comprises two opposing cylinders per module, with a crankshaft between them, and each cylinder has two pistons moving in opposite directions.
EcoMotors Internationalâ€™s EM100 is one of many options that Eurocopter is exploring for diesel power on a light single-engine helicopter, as the company believes diesel is a highly eco-efficient solution for the future of small helicopters â€“ with the ability to reduce fuel consumption by as much as 40 percent. Eurocopterâ€™s goal is to work with diesel engine manufacturers to reach power-to-weight ratios that can challenge the advantages of a classic turbine.
The emphasis of Eurocopter and American Eurocopter on safety-related flight data monitoring and analyses is represented at Heli-Expo 2010 by the cockpit-mounted Appareo Vision 1000 system, and the laptop-based Eurocopter Virtual Environment platform.
The Appareo Vision 1000 was jointly developed by American Eurocopter, Eurocopter Canada and Appareo Systems, and it captures critical inertial and positioning data, as well as cockpit imagery â€“ including the instrument panel, flight controls, partial exterior views and ambient audio. This information can be used for Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA), flight training, operational loads monitoring and accident investigation.
The EVE (Eurocopter Virtual Environment) platform reproduces a helicopter cockpit and flight maneuvers on a laptop, with the user wearing virtual reality glasses to create the feeling of total immersion in the helicopter flight environment. This technology assists in analyzing flight data in real time, and it can be coupled with the Appareo Vision 1000 system.
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