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New Helicopter Blade Software Improves Safety

 by 129th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron

The 129th Rescue Wing’s HH-60G flightline hosted a team of engineers April 5-10 from the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Test Center’s Maintenance Test and Logistics Division, headquartered at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.

The goal of the visit was to introduce new track and balance software designed to reduce rotor system track and balance labor hours by up to 90 percent (including flight crew requirements).

 “Initially, we had quite a few naysayers who proclaimed, ‘There is no way this new software will provide rotor track and balance solutions that will lower vibration levels down to the .00 range with just one or two flights,” said Lt. Col. James Henderson, commander of the 129th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

After one day of classroom training with HH-60G mechanics and select propulsion members familiar with the MC-130P and HH-60G systems, maintenance personnel requested an HH- 60G functional check flight crew from operations and got down to business.

“Sure enough as advertised, the software, called Magic by its users, provided a balance solution consisting of a single trim tab adjustment and the addition of balance weight on one of the main blades,” Colonel Henderson said. “Our flight crew took to the air and was amazed by the results. In two flights, vibration levels were down to 0.003. The standard with the older balance technology was 0.200.”

This technology will be utilized during the next AEF cycle and has a variety of applications to include spectrum analysis, which determines material failures long before a catastrophic event could occur during flight.