2265. NOTAR Tailboom and Thruster Assembly Weight Optimization


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K D Henthorn: 2265. NOTAR Tailboom and Thruster Assembly Weight Optimization. 1995.



This paper reports on the design evolution of a low cost, light weight helicopter tailboom and the unique NOTAR thruster. The aim was to develop a structure which took advantage of the performance and weight benefits offered by composite materials, while remaining cost competitive. This was not a theoretical R & D conceptual study. This is an actual report on an Integrated Product Definition (IPD) Team approach to design optimization. Test specimens were built to verify the strength and fatigue analysis and to evaluate the final aerodynamic performance. Production of the test specimens was also used to verify the cost of manufacture. Light helicopter tailboom structure are usually a simple structure with symmetrical cross section. The NOTAR tailboom presents new challenges because of the slots cut into the majority of its length, and the fact that both the internal and external surfaces are aerodynamic. It is common knowledge throughout the industry that all single main rotor helicopters tend towards aft center of gravity problems. Any weight saved on the tailboom and thruster can, therefore, result in a more desirable helicopter center of gravity from a loadability and handling qualities standpoint. Results achieved are significant and demonstrate that application of DFMA (Design for Manufacturing and Assembly) through an IPD team are a weight savings and cost effective way to bring a new product to market.


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