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Subject: Clean Vs Dirty Blades
 
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SupremoUser is Offline
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01/29/2013 8:22 AM  
In years past, I learned to be fussy about keeping my equipment clean and used the cleaning opportunity to do a careful inspection looking for any problems. Out of curiosity I began doing a careful check of performance with clean waxed blades vs dirty ones. Of course in ag work we can get a set of blades filthy in one load! Anyway, what I discovered was a 10% difference in performance with clean/dirty blades in both the Bell 47 and Hiller 12E. So, I tried it with the airplanes I was flying and found the same to be true. There is some argument about waxing helicopter blades vs using something like WD-40 because of the chance of trapping moisture and causing premature blade failure with corrosion. But, I found using WD-40 only collected more debris while wax did not. Lots of arguments out there regarding slick surfaces and its affect/effect on performance but these are what I have found via personal experimentation. For me, a 10% increase is really huge and especially when you are operating at the edges of max performance required and expected or counted on. Having operated for about 40 years in the lowest reaches of the airspace system and in the environment of little allowance for error, I'm pretty well satisfied with my observations and am passing it along. YMMV I hope to see some inputs from others and get some reparte going. Best Regards to you all Supremo

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zhyscohcUser is Offline
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01/31/2013 8:01 PM  
10%? i do not agree with you,i usually clean the blade with cleaning solution after flight.

my Email:zhyscauc@hotmial.com
SupremoUser is Offline
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01/31/2013 8:32 PM  
What kind of flying do you do? What kind of equipment? My observations came from many thousands of hours crop dusting (13,000+hrs) in both helicopters and airplanes. From the first load of the day to the last the equipment would get dirty with chemicals and dirt and I could tell the performance was slipping in both the loads it could pick up, the amount of power required to maintain the same speeds, etc. We often flew as much as 10-12 hours in a day and flew every day the weather permitted for 90-120 days without a break.
Supremo

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EC-135 Wrench TurnerUser is Offline
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02/01/2013 3:04 PM  
Are you kidding me? You use wax, WD-40 on main rotor blades? That is totally unacceptable on any type of blade. You must follow the manufactures approved maintenance manual for proper cleaning procedures.
ikesspikeUser is Offline
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02/01/2013 5:09 PM  
While not spec’ed, many old school mech’s have used WD on blades for years as that’s what it was manufactured for (aircraft). Mostly on the LE abrasion strip. I know MD factory said it was okay but I can’t recall if it was actually approved in their MM. I don’t know what they say today though. Conversely, with all the new composite blades it’s best to stick with what the manufacturer specifies. We use carbon X and not much else. Shoot, today, ya can’t even spit on a surface without someone’s panties getting into a ruffle….. And, yes. We've noticed a slight performance gain with clean-er blades
gw263User is Offline

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02/03/2013 8:35 AM  
Over twenty years ago, my agency was operating two MD500s. One of them had to have the blades overhauled, when they came back all clean and new looking, we had improved performance on that aircraft. We figured we would wax the blades on the other 500. Used New Finish, they looked real nice and slick. No change in performance. Oh well...
zhyscohcUser is Offline
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02/05/2013 12:27 AM  
offshore flying……and you must know HUMS which is used to monitoring the aircraft‘s vibration and performance,dose HUMS indicate something about the dirty or cleaning.

my Email:zhyscauc@hotmial.com
SupremoUser is Offline
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02/06/2013 8:07 PM  
Perhaps I should have clarified my version of clean VS dirty? Many flight operations have people who clean the blades on a regular basis so the pilots never really get a chance to see the difference. But, in the flight environments where there is a sudden and predictable influx of bugs for example, one flight can cause havoc with performance if the blades remain dirty. It is really not unlike the effects of icing on blades with the dirty edges disrupting airflow over the blades or wings. Surely some more of you can chime in with thoughts or observations? Trying to get some conversation going that we can all benefit from. Kind of like in the original days when this forum first started? Best Regards Rocky aka Supremo aka butthead, aka &^%*#$, etc.

Risk is the price you pay to avoid a dull life.
ozloadieUser is Offline
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02/16/2013 8:13 PM  
In WW1 and WW2, polishing wing and fuselage surfaces "until a cheesecloth would slide off of it's own volition" was common practice. Battle of Britain pilots noticed a marked increase in fighter performance because of the reduced surface friction, as with the unarmed high altitude photo recce Mosquitoes which were constructed of wood laminates. In the tropics during the wars the adhesives unbonded due to temperatures and fungus, not from surface cleaning. In WW1, allied fighters polished their wing surfaces which increased the ability to climb higher to intercept the airships, balloons and purpose manufactured recon aircraft made by the Halberstadt works I believe that could operate then between 12,000 to 17,000 ft, unheard of in those times. I have never encountered a record of wing or surface delaminations cause by these practices. The materials were different of course but the overlapping of bonded surfaces would have been similar in principal. The Schneider Trophy Race history would provide support for the practice of clean surfaces for enhanced performance. Steve

Don't Quit: Keep It Flying!
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