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Bell/Lockheed and Sikorsky/Boeing Selected for JMR-TD

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Bell/Lockheed and Sikorsky/Boeing Selected for JMR-TD

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Old 9th Oct 2018, 22:22
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Apparently SB-1 is now "complete" minus blades! If that truly is the case, I cant understand why the media reporting on this hasn't leaned on Boeing to release some pictures. Bell basically gave the media a build log from the earliest stages, yet the aviation press seems content to show the same CG renderings of Defiant over and over for 3 years. You would think they would at least get Boeing on record explaining why they want to keep it under wraps when their competition is flying almost daily.

The blade fabrication issue seems especially interesting, as I understand that Bell specifically went away from Automated Fiber Placement and toward broadgoods on V280 due to their experience on 429 and 609 fiber placed production blades. Must have been interesting to the Army to be briefed by one competitor that a specific manufacturing technology was less desirable, while the other was struggling for years behind closed doors (supposedly delaying the whole program) trying to make it work.

https://www.rotorandwing.com/2018/10...t-main-rotors/

Installation of its eight 30-foot-long rigid rotor blades is all the SB-1 Defiant needs to be a complete compound helicopter scheduled for a first flight before the end of the year.

“Defiant has been completely built, minus the rotor blades,” Rich Koucheravy, Sikorsky’s future vertical lift director, said Oct. 8 at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual expo in Washington, D.C. “We have run nearly all of the aircraft systems, so not only have the individual components been put through bench testing, but now we’ve got the aircraft completely configured. We’ve run the engines, we’ve run the electrical system. We’ve run the hydraulics. We’ve even turned the transmission without blades.”

Half of the aircraft’s eight 30-foot rigid rotors will arrive at Sikorsky’s West Palm Beach, Florida, flight test facility by Oct. 9, said Boeing FVL Program Manager Ken Eland. The other four will arrive by next weekend.

Prior to first flight and during ground runs, engineers will gain hundreds of hours of system performance data from the powertrain systems test bed, which is essentially a replica of the Defiant that stays bolted to the ground and contains all of the dynamic systems configured exactly as they are in the aircraft. It has been run twice without the eight rigid rotor blades installed, according to Ken Eland, Boeing’s FVL program manager. It’s aft propulsor blades are installed.

The main rotor blades for the test bed have been delivered to West Palm Beach, but have not been installed, Eland said. The plan is to run the powertrain test bed once more before installing the blades. At that point, the test bed will start at zero and will be run a total 200 hours before the Defiant takes off, Eland said.

Koucheravy said the test bed should be fully up and running before the end of October. It will operate concurrently with Defiant ground runs, which should begin in November. The companies are eyeing a first flight in December.

“Between Sikorsky and Boeing, we have worked tremendously hard over the past six months to remove as much risk … from the program to get our aircraft up in the air,” Koucheravy said. “We remain on a path to complete the build of Defiant shortly and get it in the air by the end of the year.”

If the Defiant breaks contact with the ground in December, it will be about a year later than originally planned. That delay was primarily due to problems with automating the layering of fibers to create the central spar of the blades.

“We took the approach to automate the core part of this blade, so the spar is very long. It’s very thick and it’s composite material,’ Eland said. “To set the precedent for the future, of being a low-cost aircraft, we went right in with an automated approach to doing that. It was actually tooling for the rotor blades that set that back for a while.”

Because Boeing was developing the rotor lamination process — called automatic fiber placement — as it went, it took two years to build the first rotor spar. The last one took just 11 days, Eland said.

The same rotor configuration has flown in smaller scale on Sikorsky’s experimental X2 aircraft and on the S-97 Raider. The airfoil design is proven, said Randy Rotte, Boeing's director of business development for cargo helicopters and future vertical lift programs.

“It’s not about the airfoil challenges there,” Rotte said. “It really was about the process that we embarked upon — by the way at the request of the Army — to improve the manufacturing readiness level of that process and the discoveries we made on how to do that, which, yes, took us way longer than we expected because we ran into unexpected challenges.”

If Defiant lifts off in December, Eland said it could be flying at upward of 200 kt by mid-2019 as part of a gradual, phased flight test program that has been worked out in cooperation with the Army. A six-month “window is not an unrealistic time period for us to get there.”

“The true answer is when the aircraft says it’s ready, we’ll get there,” Eland said. “It’s a little hard to predict with what we’re doing. We have a revolutionary technology. … Expanding the flight envelope is going to be step-by-step to make sure that we do it safely and properly. To assign timelines to it at this time would be a little naive on my part.”
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Old 9th Oct 2018, 23:23
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I would suggest Bell-Boeing have no bragging rights to on-time delivery of Tilt Rotors.

What matters is how long the Customer is willing to wait and what priority it places on timely delivery of the machines..
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 06:46
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Keeping Promises and Full Transparency

While I respect and admire the engineering and manufacturing team work working on the SB-1, the top executives at both Sikorsky and Boeing have conducted themselves poorly.

The facts are as follows;

Sikorsky/Lockheed and Boeing are the two largest defense contractors in the world. Bell/Textron is ranked about number 11 in the US.

The combined man power and financial assets of Sikorsky/Lockheed and Boeing are an order of magnitude greater than Bell/Textron.

Bell prior to FVL contract signing requested approximately eight additional months to achieve first flight. The extension was rejected based on Sikorsky and Boeingís promises that they could meet the contract date of first flight in fall of 2017.

While the SB-1 rotor blades have been highlighted as the cause of the program delays, it does not take great effort to realize that based on late design reviews and delivery of major assemblies the entire program has been running a year behind schedule.

Bell has been transparent with the V-280 progress throughout the program. The SB-1 has been shrouded in secrecy except for when missing a milestone become obvious to the public.

Which aircraft is best still needs to be determined. But as far as keeping promises and transparency, Bell deserves to brag.
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Old 10th Oct 2018, 16:32
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Originally Posted by CTR View Post
While the SB-1 rotor blades have been highlighted as the cause of the program delays, it does not take great effort to realize that based on late design reviews and delivery of major assemblies the entire program has been running a year behind schedule.
This is actually a pretty salient point, as Boeing themselves said that the iron bird has only been run twice to date which means without blades. If the blades truly are all they were waiting on, its hard to imagine that completed machine just sitting idle for 12 months.
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Old 11th Oct 2018, 04:55
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My experience with automated fiber placement is such that I would not recommend it for a one off aircraft. Rather, design the blade so that it can be automated, but hand make the demonstrator. The 429 construction techniques work well for a conventional helicopter blade, but perhaps arenít as appropriate for a thick, torsionally stiff tiltrotor blade.

In any case, I would never have suggested SB>1 use AFP for a demonstrator blade. I suspect that wasnít the only delay, but I know the struggles the team would need to overcome to AFP a long blade spar like the article implies.

Hope we see more information soon. Will be interesting to see if the flight vehicle matches the renders weíve been seeing for years.

Originally Posted by SansAnhedral View Post
Apparently SB-1 is now "complete" minus blades! If that truly is the case, I cant understand why the media reporting on this hasn't leaned on Boeing to release some pictures. Bell basically gave the media a build log from the earliest stages, yet the aviation press seems content to show the same CG renderings of Defiant over and over for 3 years. You would think they would at least get Boeing on record explaining why they want to keep it under wraps when their competition is flying almost daily.

The blade fabrication issue seems especially interesting, as I understand that Bell specifically went away from Automated Fiber Placement and toward broadgoods on V280 due to their experience on 429 and 609 fiber placed production blades. Must have been interesting to the Army to be briefed by one competitor that a specific manufacturing technology was less desirable, while the other was struggling for years behind closed doors (supposedly delaying the whole program) trying to make it work.

https://www.rotorandwing.com/2018/10...t-main-rotors/
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Old 11th Oct 2018, 15:24
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Based on literally the only photo Boeing (probably inadvertently) released to date, I think the fuselage shape is what they have been showing in the newer CG videos starting from mid 2017.



Since SB1 uses AFP, then that likely means all unidirectional tape material. One thing to consider is the damage tolerance capability of a high strain, ultra-stiff rotor blade constructed entirely of high modulus or UHM carbon tape. Even with modern toughened resin systems, it would be very interesting to see failure modes from typical ballistic threats or bird strikes

Last edited by SansAnhedral; 11th Oct 2018 at 18:47.
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Old 11th Oct 2018, 17:49
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HI

At the very start of my Career I worked at Westlands at Yeovil on composites development.
We built a prototype tailboom for the scout from all Unidirectional High Modulus Carbon fibre ( there was not any woven product available in the mid 70's).
I witnessed the destructive test and I will never forget the load crack when it failed , to call it an explosive failure was an understatement.There were bits of tailboom all over the hangar. If I am not mistaken it exceeded design load by quite a factor .
I would suspect that the machine laid tape would be interleaved with woven fabric on any new blade , especially at the root .

Neil
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Old 11th Oct 2018, 18:44
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Originally Posted by widgeon View Post
HI

At the very start of my Career I worked at Westlands at Yeovil on composites development.
We built a prototype tailboom for the scout from all Unidirectional High Modulus Carbon fibre ( there was not any woven product available in the mid 70's).
I witnessed the destructive test and I will never forget the load crack when it failed , to call it an explosive failure was an understatement.There were bits of tailboom all over the hangar. If I am not mistaken it exceeded design load by quite a factor .
I would suspect that the machine laid tape would be interleaved with woven fabric on any new blade , especially at the root .

Neil
Sounds like matrix failure of early epoxy non-toughened resins! I've heard a lot of stories like this from that era. Nowadays, the usage of elastomer toughened resin systems makes a matrix failure like that a bit less dramatic.

There is off-axis-laid tape in the design of the similar but smaller S-97 and X2 blades to create the required torsional stiffness, for example, but it is all still unidirectional tape with no fabric.

If you were using AFP to fabricate a SB1 blade, then the addition of broadgood fabric plies would negate the advantages of using an automated tape laying system as you would have to repeatedly stop the process. I imagine the additional bulk of fabric with the weft fibers could also cause overall weight challenges, since the warp direction is inherently softer from being woven and would require more plies to achieve the same stiffness.

Based on the patent applications for V280 blades, they appear to be made entirely of fabric material, though the design requirements of a proprotor are entirely different. Hopefully the SB1 blade patent shows up soon so we can see whats going on inside!
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Old 30th Nov 2018, 14:37
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The end of 2018is rapidly approaching. Just 31 calendar days or 15 regular work days. Any rumours on the Defiantís First Flight status?

Last edited by CTR; 1st Dec 2018 at 14:59. Reason: Inserted 2019 instead of 2018
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Old 30th Nov 2018, 16:29
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Originally Posted by CTR View Post
The end of 2019 is rapidly approaching.


Not so much.
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Old 12th Dec 2018, 18:21
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Itís Official

SB announces no flight of SB-1 until sometime in 2019 due to design problems.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/ar...elayed-454362/
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Old 12th Dec 2018, 20:08
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“This year we fly three airplanes that are super relevant to Future Vertical Lift,” said Chris Van Buiten, Sikorsky’s VP for innovation, “so we congratulate the other guys on flying their one airplane.”
How is that crow tasting, Van Buiten?
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Old 13th Dec 2018, 04:33
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So, first flight December 45th then. Sikorsky standard work!
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Old 13th Dec 2018, 16:34
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Not much of a Christmas break

Sadly, a lot of hard working Sikorsky Engineers will not be spending much time with family this Christmas break. Had the Defiant gotten air under the wheels before Christmas they would have enjoyed a well earned rest.
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Old 14th Dec 2018, 05:26
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Originally Posted by IFMU View Post
So, first flight December 45th then. Sikorsky standard work!
No. December 380th, 2017.

Last edited by Commando Cody; 14th Dec 2018 at 05:27. Reason: Punctuation
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Old 18th Dec 2018, 18:41
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Today, December 18th marks one year of Bell V280 Flight Testing. Bell just released this video to celebrate this milestone. Link to video below.
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Old 26th Dec 2018, 15:28
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Originally Posted by CTR View Post
Today, December 18th marks one year of Bell V280 Flight Testing. Bell just released this video to celebrate this milestone. Link to video below.https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=...&v=p4w_17lZI0c
... and Sikorsky/Boeing have been a year behind Bell for years on the JMR project. They're just now showing photos of SB>1 on the tarmac.




SB>1 photo, no hub fairings
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Old 26th Dec 2018, 18:15
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Temporary Main Landings Gear?

Zoom in on the photos main landing gear, it does not look real.
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Old 26th Dec 2018, 18:39
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Temporary Main Landings Gear?

Perhaps only a dolly for towing?
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Old 26th Dec 2018, 18:59
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Look at the tailwheel housing (dorsal fin??)and the rear pusher prop proximity to the ground, wow. With my untrained eye any nose high attitude on touchdown (running landing, off level landing) and there's gonna be a nasty surprise for the crew up front. But damn, what a sexy looking beast !
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