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A Quiet Helicopter for Air Taxi Operations

  • Johnson, Wayne
Publication Date
Jan 21, 2020
NASA Technical Reports Server


NASA is exploring rotorcraft designs for VTOL air taxi operations, also known as urban air mobility (UAM) or on-demand mobility (ODM) applications. Several concept vehicles have been developed, intended to focus and guide NASA research activities in support of aircraft development for this emerging market. This paper examines a single main-rotor helicopter designed specifically for low-noise air taxi operations. Based on demonstrated technology, the aircraft uses a turboshaft engine with a sound-absorbing installation, and the NOTAR anti-torque system to eliminate tail-rotor noise, consequently the noise and annoyance of the aircraft are dominated by the main rotor. Several design parameters are explored to reduce the noise, including rotor tip speed, blade geometry, and higher-harmonic control. Commensurate with the level of design detail, the noise is calculated for compact loading and thickness sources on the rotating blades. The metric is the reduction of the noise for the helicopter certification conditions (takeoff, flyover, and approach), relative a baseline aircraft with typical (high) tip speed, conventional blade planform, and no higher-harmonic control.

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