Title

Effects on Level Flight Performance of the Optimized Wind Deflector Modification for the MD-500 Helicopter

Date of Award

12-2007

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Aviation Systems

Major Professor

Stephen Corda

Committee Members

Frank G. Collins, U. Peter Solies

Abstract

This thesis investigates the effects of personnel wind deflector devices on the level flight performance of an MD-500D helicopter configured with external passenger provisions. Numerous helicopter organizations operate with external passenger configurations. These configurations result in personnel exposure to high winds and an increase in parasite drag. Level flight performance is degraded by the increase in parasite drag caused by the external passengers. Wind deflectors were mounted on the forward portion of the fuselage to protect external passengers from the effects of wind exposure (high wind loads and wind chill factor) by deflecting the wind away from the fuselage. The purpose of this investigation is to determine the effects of the wind deflector modification on level flight performance; specifically the change in: engine shaft horsepower required, equivalent flat plate area, maximum attainable endurance, and maximum attainable range. Four helicopter external configurations were test flown, and the data compared to determine the affects on performance caused by the wind deflector modification. The constant W/σ flight test technique was used in measuring the power required for level flight in each of the four configurations. With four manikins mounted outside the aircraft and wind deflectors installed, the maximum level flight speed and maximum range increased by 4.8% and 7.1% respectively. These percentages are relative to the aircraft with four manikins mounted outside the aircraft and no wind deflectors installed. Without manikins mounted outside the aircraft and wind deflectors installed, the maximum level flight speed and maximum range decreased by 7.6% and 11% respectively. These percentages are relative to the aircraft without manikins or deflectors mounted outside the aircraft. Maximum endurance was not affected by the wind deflector modification.

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