A subjective test of modulated blade spacing for helicopter main rotors

Brenda M. Sullivan, Bryan D. Edwards, Kenneth S. Brentner, Earl R. Booth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A previous analytical study has found that uneven (modulated) spacing of main rotor blades led to reduced helicopter noise. The present study was performed to see if these reductions transferred to improvements in subjective response. Using a predictive computer code, sounds produced by six main rotor configurations were predicted: 4 blades evenly spaced, 5 blades evenly spaced and four configurations with 5 blades with modulated spacing of varying amounts. These predictions were converted to audible sounds corresponding to the level flyover, takeoff and approach flight conditions. Subjects who heard the simulations were asked to assess the overflight sounds in terms of noisiness on a scale of 0 to 10. The evenly spaced configurations were found less noisy than the modulated spacings, possibly because the uneven spacings produced a perceptible pulsating sound due to the very low fundamental frequency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-32
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Helicopter Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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