The Active Pitch Link system developed by Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada could reduce vibration damage in commercial helicopters. The system employs springs and electrical activators to absorb pitch link vibration energy. Should power to the system fail, it will default to the traditional pitch link configuration, making it essentially fail-safe.
"Once the helicopter starts to operate at a faster speed than it is designed for, the control system starts to experience higher vibration loads due to the aerodynamic effect at the retreating blade," explained 24-year old master’s student Kostyantyn Khomutov, who is part of the development team.
The ability to reduce or better absorb vibrations would increase the service life of various parts, resulting in noticeable cost savings. The Active Pitch Link also consumes less power than current passive vibration devices, Khomutov told R&W. "This frees up more engine power," he said.
It should take four to five years for the system to make it to market.