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Inlet barrier filters


While helicopter operations in pretty much any type of air can have negative consequences on the health of engines, some environments are significantly more hostile than others. Helicopters operating in a marine environment can be subject to the erosive effects of beach sand and the corrosive effects of salt nuclei, while helicopters operating near wildfires can be impacted by erosion or foreign object debris (FOD) from landing in unimproved landing zones. Engine corrosion and fouling can occur from ingesting smoke. Operations into dirty air imply distinctive maintenance operations, but as inlet barrier filters (IBF) improve, the maintenance


requirements associated with dirty air operations have the potential to become less burdensome. “Neither salt nor smoke imply any distinctive maintenance operations with an IBF installed. They are both contaminants that would increase condition maintenance if the length of exposure and concentration are severe though,” says Tom Newman, engineering director at Donaldson Aerospace and Defense. “As an example, aircraft operating in saltwater environments without barrier engine protection can require aggressive daily engine wash regiments, experience negative power trending due to hot section sulfidation, have limited hover time over


saltwater, and require increased overhaul and programmatic operational costs. Our IBFs with 99 percent separation efficiency capture everything that would have been ingested by the engine creating component wear and eventually extensive damage. Therefore, maintaining the IBF is critical to keeping the filter dust holding capacity at optimal values while getting the maximum engine performance.”


IBFs are very similar to the ones installed on cars, and they basically create a barrier between the outside environment and the inlet of the engine.


An Aerometals team member inspects barrier filter elements. Photo: Lyn Burks 70 Sept/Oct 2018


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