An experimental investigation was conducted in the Langley 14- by 22-Foot Subsonic Tunnel to quantify the rotor wake behind a scale model helicopter rotor in forward level flight at one thrust level. The rotor system in this test consisted of a four-bladed fully articulated hub with blades of rectangular planform and an NACA 0012 airfoil section. A laser light sheet, seeded with propylene glycol smoke, was used to visualize the vortex geometry in the flow in planes parallel and perpendicular to the free-stream flow. Quantitative measurements of wake geometric proper- ties, such as vortex location, vertical skew angle, and vortex particle void radius, were obtained as well as convective velocities for blade tip vortices. Comparisons were made between experimental data and four computational method predictions of experimental tip vortex locations, vortex vertical skew angles, and wake geometries. The results of these comparisons highlight difficulties of accurate wake geometry predictions.
Aircraft Design, Testing and Performance