Extraction of blade-vortex interactions from helicopter transient maneuvering noise



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Time-frequency analysis techniques are proposed as a necessary tool for the analysis of acoustics generated by helicopter transient maneuvering flight. Such techniques are necessary as the acoustic signals related to transient maneuvers are inherently unsteady. The wavelet transform is proposed as an appropriate tool, and it is compared to the more standard short-time Fourier transform technique through an investigation using several appropriately sized interrogation windows. It is shown that the wavelet transform provides a consistent spectral representation, regardless of employed window size. The short-time Fourier transform, however, provides spectral amplitudes that are highly dependent on the size of the interrogation window, and so is not an appropriate tool for this situation. An extraction method is also proposed to investigate blade-vortex interaction noise emitted during helicopter transient maneuvering flight. The extraction method allows for the investigation of blade-vortex interactions independent of other sound sources. The method is based on filtering the spectral data calculated through the wavelet transform technique. The filter identifies blade-vortex interactions through their high amplitude, high frequency impulsive content. The filtered wavelet coefficients are then inverse transformed to create a pressure signature solely related to blade-vortex interactions. This extraction technique, along with a prescribed wake model, is applied to experimental data extracted from three separate flight maneuvers performed by a Bell 430 helicopter. The maneuvers investigated include a steady level flight, fast- and medium-speed advancing side roll maneuvers. A sensitivity analysis is performed in order to determine the optimal tuning parameters employed by the filtering technique. For the cases studied, the optimized tuning parameters were shown to be frequencies above 7 main rotor harmonics, and amplitudes stronger than 25% (−6 dB) of the energy in the main rotor harmonic. Further, it is shown that blade-vortex interactions can be accurately extracted so long as the blade-vortex interaction peak energy signal is greater or equal to the energy in the main rotor harmonic. An in-depth investigation of the changes in the blade-vortex interaction signal during transient advancing side roll maneuvers is then conducted. It is shown that the sound pressure level related to blade-vortex interactions, shifts from the advancing side, to the retreating side of the vehicle during roll entry. This shift is predicted adequately by the prescribed wake model. However, the prescribed wake model is shown to be inadequate for the prediction of blade-vortex interaction miss distance, as it does not respond to the roll rate of the vehicle. It is further shown that the sound pressure levels are positively linked to the roll rate of the vehicle. Similar sound pressure level directivities and amplitudes can be seen when vehicle roll rates are comparable. The extraction method is shown to perform admirably throughout each maneuver. One limitation with the technique is identified, and a proposal to mitigate its effects is made. The limitation occurs when the main rotor harmonic energy drops below an arbitrary threshold. When this happens, a decreased spectral amplitude is required for filtering; which leads to the extraction of high frequency noise unrelated to blade-vortex interactions. It is shown, however, that this occurs only when there are no blade-vortex interactions present. Further, the resulting sound pressure level is identifiable as it is significantly less than the peak blade-vortex interaction sound pressure level. Thus the effects of this limitation are shown to be negligible.