Composite aftermarket rotor blade manufacturer Van Horn Aviation completed a ground run of its newly-developed tail rotor assembly for the Airbus Helicopters H125, previously known as the AS350.
The new system features two individually-replaceable composite tail rotor blades attached to a VHA-designed titanium hub using self-lubricating spherical bearings. Since VHA’s H125/AS350 tail rotor blades use the same NASA-designed laminar airfoil as the company’s popular 206 series tail rotor blades, VHA engineers expect a similar increase in performance and decrease in overall noise signature compared to OEM blades.
“We’re excited about bringing the performance improvements that VHA is known for to the venerable AS350,” said VHA CEO James Van Horn. “We expect that our tail rotor blades will provide greater tail rotor authority, plus increased safety during a hydraulics failure.”
Van Horn Aviation is working with Piranha Aerospace Solutions, a membership-based helicopter parts distributor, to launch the product with its members.
“In addition to the expected performance improvements, the VHA tail rotor system design also addresses several maintenance pain points for operators,” said Piranha Principal of Sales John Holland. “The elimination of the underperforming half laminated bearings and the use of individually-replaceable blades stands to save our members thousands of dollars in direct maintenance costs while also increasing aircraft availability.”
Flight testing will begin this summer with FAA certification estimated in 2022.