In recent years, both the Eurocopter EC175 and the Sikorsky S-76D medium twin-engine helicopters have made their maiden flights – each designed with all-composite main rotor blades. The UH-60M Blackhawk, which has been upgraded with a new composite wide-chord rotor blade and more powerful engine, demonstrates an impressive extra 500 pounds of lift. The composite intensive V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor is now successfully deployed and ramping up to full production. Hexcel is a proud supplier to these and other programs, with a wide range of materials including: carbon fiber, reinforcements, epoxy prepregs, and honeycomb engineered core.
Typical Composite Applications in Helicopters
- Rotor blades: carbon and glass prepreg (including carbon woven bias), honeycomb, engineered core, Redux® adhesive
- Rotor hub: carbon/epoxy prepreg
- Glazing bars: carbon and glass epoxy prepreg
- Seats and interiors: glass prepreg, honeycomb
- Engine/Body fairings/Access panels: glass, carbon and aramid prepregs with epoxy and BMI resins
- Fuselage: carbon and glass prepregs, honeycomb
- Main and cargo doors: carbon and glass epoxy prepreg, honeycomb and Redux® adhesive
- Horizontal Stabilizers: glass, carbon and aramid prepregs
- Fuselage panels: carbon and glass epoxy prepreg, honeycomb and Redux® adhesive
Innovative blade production concepts from Hexcel’s Engineered Products group have resulted in contract wins to produce sub-assemblies and even a complete main rotor blade for the Sikorsky S-76D™.
Hexcel’s Engineered Products for Rotorcraft:
- Tip caps
- Blade skins
- Skin to core assemblies
- Tail rotor skins and skin to cores
- Flight safety critical parts: MRB spars, TRB Flexbeams.