Differential Torque Actuated Collective and Cyclic Pitch Control.

Differential Torque Actuated Propeller and Rotor Pitch Control.

Up to date, a swashplate mechanism is the standard means of providing control to the modern helicopter. A simpler version, just for pitch-control, is implemented in many other propeller-driven appliances operating in air or water. These embodiments traditionally suffer a high part count, the transmission of control forces through high-velocity mechanisms, wear due to a high load cycle frequency and an elevated maintenance rate. Often they constitute a single point of failure.

We investigate a new solution that features effective electromagnetic transmission of control forces to the rotor blades by the angular disposition of a control drive. The unique properties are, a compact build volume, lower part count, the absence of complex interfaces between fast rotating parts and the potential to control the individual blades in patterns that exceed the capabilities of mechanical swashplates. Additionally, the proposed configuration with a hollow static rotor mast allows for simplified coaxial arrangements, e.g., as highly effective counter-rotating propellers, coaxial dual rotor helicopters or multistage ducted fans.

This exploratory project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) of Austria as part of the FFG “Take Off Call 2018”.