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Weight of Wessex Helicopter Blade

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Weight of Wessex Helicopter Blade

Old 23rd Sep 2019, 07:30
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Weight of Wessex Helicopter Blade

Hi all,
I was just curious what one of the Wessex helicopter blades weighs. I helped unload 4 of these blades from storage in Melbourne, Australia, and they were a lot heavier than they looked. I don't know the year of manufacture of the helicopter in which the blades were originally taken from. But, I was curious to about how much one of those blades weighs, (and it's length, if anyone knows that too). I do know these Wessex blades had depleted uranium in the tips for weight balance.
Thanks,
Will69
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Old 23rd Sep 2019, 13:09
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Not sure about depleted uranium; always looked like lead wire in the tip and lead weight on the blade to me. Standard procedure back when was one bloke on either end to lift in/out of a box.
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Old 23rd Sep 2019, 17:37
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Don`t think Uranium was around when WX blades were made...should have weight painted on blade root end; it`s about 26 1/2 ft long,and I think about 140 lbs....would hurt if it hit you..
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Old 23rd Sep 2019, 19:13
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Spent 7 1/2 years working on Wessex HC 2, as a Rigger, UK, and Hong Kong,and the blades had Depleted Uranium as the tip weight.

Last edited by spitfirek5054; 23rd Sep 2019 at 19:19. Reason: Puctuation
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Old 23rd Sep 2019, 19:23
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[QUOTE=sycamore;10577437]Don`t think Uranium was around when WX blades were made...

Oh but it was! The atomic program could never have happened without it.
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Old 24th Sep 2019, 00:26
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I'm pretty sure the blades I unloaded had depleted uranium in them... The reason we unloaded them was for the army to come and take the uranium out of the blades!
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Old 24th Sep 2019, 02:47
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Definitely depleted uranium in the blades. Wessex Squadron of ours touched blades during a formation flight (both landed OK) and hours upon hours were spent searching the bush for the scattered weights, was involved in the SAR scramble. Depleted uranium was often used as a balancing medium in aviation, 747 being one of many.
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Old 24th Sep 2019, 04:35
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Thread copied to Rotorheads: there may be a definitive answer there
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Old 24th Sep 2019, 07:53
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Originally Posted by sycamore View Post
Don`t think Uranium was around when WX blades were made...should have weight painted on blade root end; it`s about 26 1/2 ft long,and I think about 140 lbs....would hurt if it hit you..
That's good enough for me - one would expect a poster called Sycamore to know a thing or two about helicopters.
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Old 24th Sep 2019, 08:33
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I do know these Wessex blades had depleted uranium in the tips for weight balance.
What is the reason to balance the tip of a rotor blade? A rudder balance I can understand, but why a rotor blade?
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Old 24th Sep 2019, 11:15
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Dave Reid - Sycamore really does know an awful lot about Wessex, Whirlwind and Sea Kings be assured.
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Old 25th Sep 2019, 02:52
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I can assure all that the Wessex definately did use depleted uranium as a rotor balance weight. Page five of http://www.wise-uranium.org/pdf/duemdec.pdf
Reed C. Magness, “Environmental Overview for Depleted Uranium,” CRDC-TR-85030 (Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, October 1985) 10-12; In a response to Mr. Duncan Smith in the UK Parliament on 2 February 2001, Mr. John Spellar, UK Minister of Transport, stated that DU is used in balance weights in the Tristar helicopter, Wessex helicopter, and C-130 aircraft
The following item, though it doesn't state the helicopter type, refers to the transfer of Wessex helicopters from our Navy to a civil organisation, page nineteen.
Readers would be aware that the Historic Flight Restoration Society (HARS) recently won the Tender for acquisition of what was once the RAN Historic Flight.Some of the HF airframes have been withheld from release, pending examination for potentially radio-active material (such as depleted uranium in rotor blade tips), but others have been released and HARS volunteers visited Albatross on 10 December to view them, and move what could be moved.
https://www.faaaa.asn.au/wp-content/...yByJan2019.pdf
What is the reason to balance the tip of a rotor blade
For the same reason you balance your car wheels.

https://www.aviationpros.com/engines...balance-theory
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Old 25th Sep 2019, 07:43
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Originally Posted by megan View Post
Reed C. Magness, “Environmental Overview for Depleted Uranium,” CRDC-TR-85030 (Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, October 1985) 10-12; In a response to Mr. Duncan Smith in the UK Parliament on 2 February 2001, Mr. John Spellar, UK Minister of Transport, stated that DU is used in balance weights in the Tristar helicopter, Wessex helicopter, and C-130 aircraft.
Happily, and despite the citation from Dan Fahey's paper, Hansard confirms that the Minister didn't actually tell Parliament that the TriStar was a helicopter.
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Old 25th Sep 2019, 08:54
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Aha, so it is for balancing the rotor disk, not an individual blade.
Thanks for the information.
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Old 25th Sep 2019, 09:17
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Is depleted uranium denser than the concrete block I lifted out of my old washing machine the other day? Seemed unbelievably heavy for its size...

Dave, maybe the TriStar is three conjoined AStars...
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Old 25th Sep 2019, 10:53
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Washoutt,
The tip weights are there not to balance the rotor disc but to dynamically balance the blade against the MASTER BLADE on the whirl tower. The weights are located at three points on the end of the blade. The centre one takes weights to locate the centre of gravity and bring the final blade weight to that of the master. When the blade is whirled on the whirl stand and pitch applied the difference between the TRACK of the master blade and the test blade is adjusted by moving the weights from the back to the front or front to back studs. Also as the speed of the tower is increased if the track splits from the master blade the tabs are adjusted to correct the split. This is what makes the blades interchangeable and in the good old days before strobe tracking in flight you only had to set up the track with chalk on the blade tips and a flag slowly fed into the rotating tip path plane. I remember seeing the Chicago Aerial device for tracking which was in the S61 manual but never used it. The tower at Aerospatiale had an upgraded version bolted to the concrete base. You did not balance the main rotor disc on the Wessex but here was a Chadwick method used to balance the main rotor head on the S58.
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Old 26th Sep 2019, 10:11
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Measuring a blade against a master blade makes much sense, so now I understand that all blades of a heli type are equal and therefore interchangeable. That makes good sense. I have never been involved in helicopter design, so this is new to me. I always asumed they whirled the disc of each heli for balance, but that would not make the blades from other heli's interchangeable. I'll google a whirl tower, sounds like an interesting piece of equipment. Even at my age I keep learning.
Thanks for the information.
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Old 27th Sep 2019, 01:46
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TriStar helicopter here.

TriStar

T
readers, DU is 68.4% denser than lead. Depending on configuration the 747 used between 700 and 1,060 lbs of the stuff before replacing it with tungsten.
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Old 30th Sep 2019, 05:14
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Does anyone know the proper way to handle the blades with depleted uranium in them? Do you need special gloves/clothing? My moving of the blades were only so the military could come and take the uranium out. How do they dispose of the uranium?

Last edited by Will69; 1st Oct 2019 at 04:37.
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