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Doubt about windmill cleaning with helicopter

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Doubt about windmill cleaning with helicopter

Old 21st Sep 2016, 20:09
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Doubt about windmill cleaning with helicopter

Hello all,

I am an engineer currently involved in wind energy sector, and I found that windmill cleaning can be made with helicopters. Actually, I found more than 10 companies doing it now.

I found that the maximum wind speed at which the helicopter can clean is at 20 knots, and I do not understand if this is the helicopter limit or whether the water jet does not spot on the blade. Does anybody know?

Thanks a lot,
Galtor is offline  
Old 21st Sep 2016, 22:00
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Is the windmill stopped? Are the blades feathered? I'd think it would be laughable unless the blades are stopped. Leaving them unfeathered would also be easier to to hit the blade cord head on with your water cannon. 20 Knots seems like a lot and it all depends on how close you'd feel comfortable hovering along a blade. It isn't like powerline insulator wash where the things you are washing are small. I'd think that if you are feeling it might be cost effective to do it with a helicopter , it might be less expensive to do one blade at a time from the ground with some sort of lift device that could get you close to being able to reach each blade with a nozzle and brush. How high is the blade root when the blade is straight down? You could have a much larger water tank if pumped from the ground as well. Let us know how this goes for you. It is always nice to see what works with helicopters. Who thought a giant chain-saw suspended from a helicopter would ever work. Surprise, it works pretty well but it is freakin' scary to watch or fly.
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Old 21st Sep 2016, 22:37
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Doesn't it rain that high up?
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Old 22nd Sep 2016, 08:01
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I expect the wind turbine is facing into the wind therefore requiring a very awkward side wind hover to be in position to blast the blades.
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Old 22nd Sep 2016, 08:52
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Galtor, that limitation would probably be due to operational safety.


roscoe1, state-of-the-art turbines have a tower height of up to 140m. Equipment capable of reaching that height probably won't be more cost-efficient than helicopters.


kj, I think you could turn the turbine into any desired direction but you wouldn't want to blast against a 20+kt wind.
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Old 22nd Sep 2016, 09:53
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like to see how you would have a lift device seeing as a lot are out to sea !
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Old 22nd Sep 2016, 11:06
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGI1pGznjiY



looks like fun !
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Old 22nd Sep 2016, 13:29
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Dang, I guess it makes more sense than I thought it would. Thanks for the vid.
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Old 22nd Sep 2016, 18:46
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Reading the answers, I think it might be just a compromise of the windmill. If the windspeed is higher, probably the owner of the windmill will want to use it and get energy.
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Old 23rd Sep 2016, 00:54
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If the windspeed is higher, probably the owner of the windmill will want to use it and get energy.
You're certainly right - but there are other factors as well - control of the AS350 hover in winds greater than 20 Kts (considering the boom comes out on the STBD side only), the spray pattern, etc.
Looks pretty good though, a new method for aviation to support a still emerging energy source. Good for that company to rise to the challenge. Usable both onshore and offshore.
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Old 23rd Sep 2016, 05:34
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I'm surprised that the efficiency gains from cleaning the rotors are such
that cleaning by a rotary asset is deemed cost effective.

Do they not use covalent coating techniques (a la solar panels) to minimise build up?
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Old 24th Sep 2016, 16:05
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I don't think so
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