Blue Pulse™: Active rotor control by trailing edge flaps at AIRBUS HELICOPTERS

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Dieterich, O.
Rabourdin, A.
Maurice, J.-B.
Konstanzer, P.
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Ten years ago, AIRBUS HELICOPTERS has opened a new page in active rotor control by performing the first flight of a main rotor system equipped with piezo-driven trailing edge flaps, In 2005, the experimental test bed consisted of a modified BK117 composite airframe and the experimental ADASYS main rotor system labelled according to the underlying research project. In the meantime, the experimental system has been continuously improved in order to close the gap to potential serial solutions in view of airframe, main rotor, actuation and mechatronics. Until today, AIRBUS HELICOPTERS is the only manufacturer in the world performing full scale flight tests with such kind of systems. The related technology is branded by AIRBUS HELICOPTERS as Blue PulseTM. This paper provides a comprehensive overview on active rotor activities at AIRBUS HELICOPTERS concerning piezo-driven trailing edge flaps. Main topics are the presentation of flight test results and underlying flight physics for major secondary control tasks. Future development challenges are identified to be less on realization by design and proof-of-demonstration for both hardware and control algorithms but more on maturing the underlying concepts in view of potential customer applications.