How Much Torque Do I Need To Spin A Weight Helicopter Anti-Torque Systems

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Helicopter Anti-Torque Systems

To understand torque and its effect on helicopters, we need to refer to Newton’s third law of motion, which states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Torque is a measure of how much force acting on an object will cause that object to rotate. Compared to helicopters, the engine turns the drive shaft, which turns the rotor. This rotation causes a torque (a rotational force). If the helicopter is on the ground, the friction between the helicopter’s landing gear and the surface will prevent the torque force from turning the fuselage. When the helicopter becomes airborne, the frictional force is removed, and if nothing is present to counteract the torque force, the fuselage will rotate in a direction opposite to the rotors. According to Newton’s third law, the action of the rotors creates an equal and opposite reaction (the fuselage turns opposite to the direction of the main rotors). For single-rotor helicopters, countering the torque can be achieved in one of three ways.

The first way to counteract torque is with a tail rotor. A tail rotor is located on the tail of a conventional helicopter. The purpose of the tail rotor is to reduce the effect of torque and the yawing motions inherited from helicopter flight. The tail rotor consists of two or four small airfoils, which the pilot is able to control in the cockpit by manipulating the rudder (anti-torque) pedals.

Helicopters using twin rotor systems do not require the use of a tail rotor as the two rotors are designed to turn in different directions and offset the yaw created by each other without the need for a tail rotor.

The other way to counter torque is with a NOTAR (No Tail Rotor) system. NOTAR is a fairly new type of anti-torque system developed by McDonnell Douglas. This system removes the tail rotor, making it much safer and also means less noise is generated.

In 1975, this concept was originally created by Hughes Helicopters; however, it was not until 1981 that a prototype helicopter made its first flight using the NOTAR system. Hughes Helicopters has since been acquired by McDonnell Douglas.

The NOTAR system uses a variable pitch fan driven by the main rotor transmission. This fan forces air at high speeds through the back of the craft, creating lift and thus increasing control.

As with any system, NOTAR has advantages and disadvantages. Its benefits include: Reduced noise levels – around 60% of the noise from conventional helicopters usually comes from the tail rotor. Safety – the tail rotor hitting something causes many accidents. By removing the tail rotor, this possibility is removed and there is a significant reduction in the helicopter’s vibrations.

NOTAR’s disadvantages are that it is not as efficient as a tail rotor, and helicopters using a NOTAR system will have a loss of maneuverability.

The last way to counter torque is known as a fenestron. This is actually a type of tail rotor commonly known as a Fantail. A fenestron is a tail rotor which is mounted in a housing. In use, a fenestron performs the same as a conventional tail rotor, but there are design differences.

A Fenestron has between 8 and 18 blades, compared to a standard tail rotor with only 2-4 blades, and offers many advantages and a few disadvantages compared to a normal tail rotor. Advantages include: Safety – these are much safer for ground operations because the tail rotor is enclosed in a housing. More protected – less likely for foreign objects to enter the tail rotor and cause damage and reduced noise.

Disadvantages include: Higher weight and higher drag, leading to increased fuel consumption. Fenestrones are also more expensive to produce and less effective

Anti-torque systems are essential to the safe operation of a helicopter, regardless of the type of system used.

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