Full-scale reynolds number experiment on interactional aerodynamics between two model rotor hubs and a horizontal stabilizer

Leonard Metkowski, David Reich, Kyle Sinding, Nicholas Jaffa, Sven Schmitz

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


A full-scale Reynolds number water tunnel experiment was performed to generate a data set used to analyze the effects of helicopter rotor hub wake impingement on a canonical horizontal stabilizer. The experiment was designed and performed in the Pennsylvania State University Applied Research Laboratory Garfield Thomas Water Tunnel, where a 10.5 inch constant chord stabilizer was placed in the 48-inch diameter test section downstream of a 1/4 scale helicopter hub. Two rotor hubs were tested, a baseline configuration and a low-drag model. The stabilizer was mounted in the long-age wake. Lift, pitching moments, and unsteady pressures were measured on the horizontal stabilizer at a Reynolds number of 0.9 × 106, 1.8 × 106 and 2.7 × 106, corresponding to hub diameter-based Reynolds numbers of 2.2 × 106, 4.3 × 106, 6.5 × 106 and rotor advance ratios of 0.1, 0.2, and 0.3. The hub-wake interaction results were compared to a baseline airfoil test, which was performed without a hub upstream. Pressure sensors were used to evaluate wake unsteadiness impinging on the horizontal stabilizer. The horizontal stabilizer in clean flow exhibited lift and pitching moment in agreement with XFOIL predictions. With the low-drag hub upstream it measured lift fluctuations at a frequency of 2/rev, 4/rev, 8/rev and 12/rev. Downstream velocity and pressure fluctuations of 2/rev 4/rev and notably 6/rev were measured with the baseline hub upstream. Drag reduction on the low-drag hub was measured to be >25% compared to the baseline hub at full-scale Reynolds number. Both drag and wake harmonics measured at the hub and downstream on the stabilizer were found to be dependent on the upstream hub geometry. Pressure frequencies taken on the horizontal stabilizer yielded similar results and were consistent with those measured via the force balance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnnual Forum Proceedings - AHS International
StatePublished - 2018
Event74th American Helicopter Society International Annual Forum and Technology Display 2018: The Future of Vertical Flight - Phoenix, United States
Duration: May 14 2018May 17 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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