Curtiss-Wright to design vibration-management computer for next-generation helicopter research demonstrator

SANTA CLARITA, Calif., 3 July 2011. Avionics designers at European helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland in Yeovil, England, needed a custom vibration management system computer for a research program to develop intelligent and active rotors for a new generation of helicopters. They found their solution from the Curtiss-Wright Controls Electronic Systems business unit in Santa Clarita, Calif. Embedded computing experts from Curtiss-Wright Controls Electronic Systems will design the vibration-management computer with custom I/O and conduction-cooled components, will provide the processing to control vibration in the main rotor head of the AgustaWestland Rotorcraft Technology Validation Program (RTVP) demonstrator.

Jul 3rd, 2011
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SANTA CLARITA, Calif., 3 July 2011.avionics designers at European helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland in Yeovil, England, needed a custom vibration management system computer for a research program to develop intelligent and active rotors for a new generation of helicopters. They found their solution from the Curtiss-Wright Controls Electronic Systems business unit in Santa Clarita, Calif.Embedded computing experts from Curtiss-Wright Controls Electronic Systems will design the vibration-management computer with custom I/O and conduction-cooled components, will provide the processing to control vibration in the main rotor head of the AgustaWestland Rotorcraft Technology Validation Program (RTVP) demonstrator to reduce the vibration in the airframe, Curtiss-Wright officials say.Company engineers will design the vibration-management computer to be certifiable to Level A and Level C of DO-254 and DO-178B safety-critical avionics specifications. The vibration-control computer will weigh about four pounds.

The the AgustaWestland Rotorcraft Technology Validation Program is part of the United Kingdom Rotor Embedded Actuator Control Technology (REACT) project, launched in 2008 by AgustaWestland and the United Kingdom Technology Strategy Board in Swindon, England. The project seeks to develop active surfaces in helicopter rotor blades, and active hydraulic systems in rotor controls, which continuously vary the aerodynamics of the rotors to produce the best possible performance.

The REACT program also seeks to study the feasibility of a flexible helicopter rotor trailing edge, and the most efficient transfer of power to the helicopter rotor blades. Active rotor technology could benefit military and commercial helicopter operators by providing a jet-smooth ride to reduce pilot fatigue, reduce helicopter noise, and improve rotor efficiencies.

The AgustaWestland RTVP demonstrator will be the full-scale laboratory validation of the technology. The REACT program also seeks to deploy a prognostic system on helicopter main rotors to detect damage and predict the remaining life left in the helicopter's safety-critical components. Also participating in the 8.8 million-pound REACT program are Bristol, Leicester and Liverpool universities.

For more information contact Curtiss-Wright Controls Electronic Systems online at www.cwcelectronicsystems.com, AgustaWestland at www.agustawestland.com, or the United Kingdom Technology Strategy Board at www.innovateuk.org.

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