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RCP0110_0_Hangar Talk 2/15/10 5:03 PM Page 41
30 months to develop,” said Van Horn.
“We take an existing blade and research
all of the ways the design can be im-
proved, from installation to performance
to longevity.”
For example, the VHA tail rotor blade
for the Bell 206B/L replaces the OEM’s
aluminum pitch bearings with stainless
steel bearings for greater durability and a
titanium root fitting for increased strength.
Carbon fiber construction provides a cor-
rosion-resistant solution to the OEM’s
metal blades along with a 100% increase
in longevity to 5,000 hours.
“We design our blades with longevity
in mind,” said Van Horn. “In compliance
with FAA requirements, we put our blades PJ Helicopters, which operates seven dif- ordered a new set of VHA blades for its
through a rigorous fatigue test simulating ferent models of helicopters including one 206L as soon as VHA received the 206L
thousands of flight cycles to determine the UH-1H, 206B and 206L. “We do a lot of STC certification earlier this month.
ultimate life of the blade. The UH-1 and utility work, including short haul transfer, “We like the increased service life, the
206 fatigue test results have allowed us to people transfer, and long line. The VHA cost, the performance, and the reliability
double the lives on both blades.” blades provide more authority and power, of VHA blades,” said McCammon. “In-
But the biggest departure from the which is useful in long line work.” stallation is easy and we’ve had no main-
OEM design is VHA’s incorporation of PJ Helicopters has flown VHA tail ro- tenance issues. We will continue replacing
an advanced laminar-flow airfoil and tor blades for more than 18 months and our tail rotor blades with VHA’s.”

shaped tip to reduce the helicopter’s over-
all noise signature.
“We knew that our design’s configura-
tion would reduce the helicopter’s noise
signature, but we didn’t know by how
much,” said Van Horn. “Acoustic testing
performed by Acoustical Analysis Asso-
ciates, Inc. in March 2009 resulted in a 41
percent decrease in sound levels versus
the OEM blade. Operators flying our 206
blades have noticed the decrease in noise
coming through the headset when talking
to their dispatchers.”
Van Horn says the significant decrease
in noise levels will also help operators us-
ing VHA blades to comply with ‘fly
neighborly’ programs and increasingly
strict noise rules at various airports.
“One reason the City of Pasadena Avi-
ation Department is flying our tail rotor
blades on their OH-58’s is noise reduc-
tion,” said Van Horn. “Noise is such a po-
litically critical issue that any
demonstrable decrease in aircraft noise
can help save an aviation department from
being cut.”
In addition to the reduction in noise, the
new airfoil provides performance en-
hancements, including reduced pedal
forces and better handling at high altitudes.
“The VHA blades are way more re-
sponsive,” said Dave McCammon, main-
tenance coordinator for California-based
HELI-EXPO BOOTH #0000 • February 2010 41
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