Trim and quasi-static stability

We have already discussed many of the issues relevant to lateral/directional trim and quasi-static stability in the section on roll axis response characteristics, particularly the need for positive trim control gradients. One additional handling criterion that fits best in this category is the requirement on heading (or roll and pitch attitude) hold functions as defined in ADS-33. With heading hold engaged and activated by the release of the yaw control device, the reference heading should be captured within 10% of the yaw rate at release. In addition, following a disturbance in yaw, the heading should return to within 10% of the peak excursion within 20 s for UCE 1, and within 10 s for UCE > 1.

As discussed in the introduction to this section, at hover and low speed, particularly close to the ground, the helicopter creates a disturbed aerodynamic environment in which the tail rotor is required to work. When the powerful main rotor vortex wake strikes the tail, particularly from the port side, or in the form of the ground vortex in rearward flight (see discussion on interactional aerodynamics in Chapter 3), large yawing moment disturbances can make it difficult for the pilot and even for the simple automatic hold functions to perform well. The problem is intimately associated with the open tail rotor; while generally more efficient than an enclosed fan or jet thrust device in clean aerodynamic conditions, the tail rotor tends to be more sensitive to wind strength and direction, particularly when positioned close to the vertical stabilizer. This sensitivity manifests itself as a non-uniform distribution of lift over the tail rotor, giving rise to large collective and power requirements in critical flight conditions. Reference 6.76 discusses the merits of tail rotor cyclic control in this context, which could be scheduled with collective to provide the optimum lift distribution in all flight conditions.

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