The helicopter rotor system is the rotating section of the aircraft that generates lift. The rotor is made up of the mast, hub, and rotor blades. The mast is a hollow, cylindrical metal shaft that extends up from the transmission. In some configurations, the transmission also supports the mast. Atop the mast lies the attachment point for the rotor blades. This is called the hub. The rotor blades can attach to the hub through a variety of means. In fact, the type of rotor system is determined by the way the blades are attached to the hub. There are three different rotor systems: semirigid, rigid, and fully articulated. This blog will explain each of these rotor systems, as well as the rotor types themselves.

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When designing rotor blades for a new helicopter, the length is often decided based on the intended application. With longer helicopter rotor blades, more powerful lift can be achieved which is optimal for carrying heavier loads. Smaller blades on the other hand allow for less drag and faster achievable speeds. With the advent of new technology and capability, the ability to have both types with the same rotor may soon become a reality.

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It’s an exciting time for the helicopter industry—new innovations and upgrades are on the forefront of technological development for Helicopters. Advancements in overall structure, engine components, and design are changing the way we conceptualize— and use—these aircraft. Traditional rotor systems are getting a facelift, and Bell is one of the companies paving the way for the future of helicopter operation.

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One of the most important parts of any rotorcraft is undoubtedly the rotor. But the blades are a close second. Afterall, for rotorcraft, the rotational movement of the blades is the only reason that the aircraft can even achieve lift and fly. For rotorcraft like helicopters, lift is achieved when the rotor blades (airfoil) meet the oncoming airflow and deflect them, creating a change in the direction of the airflow, which results in an area of low pressure forming behind the leading edge of the upper surface of the blade.

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