Van Horn receives STC certifications for composite rotor blades
The VHA 206L main rotor blade features corrosion and damage-resistant carbon fiber skin and a foam core.
Rotor blade manufacturer Van Horn Aviation (VHA, Tempe, AZ, US) recently received supplemental type certificates (STC) from the aviation regulatory authorities of both Canada and Brazil for its 206L series composite main rotor blade. The authorities issued the STC validations after reviewing the documents associated with FAA STC SR02684LA issued on Aug. 16, 2018, for the product.
Transport Canada (Dorval, Québec, Canada) issued STC SH18-69 on Dec. 3, 2018, applying to 206L, 206L-1, 206L-3 and 206L-4 aircraft in Canada. The Agencia Nacional de Aviação Civil (ANAC, Brasília, Brazil) issued STC 2018S11-11 on Nov. 29, 2018, applying to 206L-1, 206L-3 and 206L-4 aircraft in Brazil.
The VHA 206L main rotor blade features corrosion and damage-resistant carbon fiber skin, titanium root grip plates, foam core and electroformed nickel and stainless steel abrasion strips along its entire leading edge. Its NASA (Washington, DC, US)-designed laminar flow airfoil reportedly allows air to move more efficiently over the blade.
The matrix binds the fiber reinforcement, gives the composite component its shape and determines its surface quality. A composite matrix may be a polymer, ceramic, metal or carbon. Here’s a guide to selection.
Compared to legacy materials like steel, aluminum, iron and titanium, composites are still coming of age, and only just now are being better understood by design and manufacturing engineers. However, composites’ physical properties — combined with unbeatable light weight — make them undeniably attractive.
Fast-reacting resins and speedier processes are making economical volume manufacturing possible.