206B Main Rotor Blade Acoustics Testing

Wind and weather data collection devices at Meadows Field Airport during 206B main rotor blade acoustics testing.
Wind and weather data collection devices at Meadows Field Airport during 206B main rotor blade acoustics testing.

As part of the Supplemental Type Certification (STC) process, VHA hired a contracting firm to conduct acoustics testing of the 206B main rotor blade. The test was conducted on April 29, 2015 in Kern County, California, using a similar equipment setup as for the 206 tail rotor blade acoustics test conducted in 2009.  A 206B JetRanger fitted with VHA tail rotor blades flew multiple passes at the prescribed altitude, first using the OEM metal main rotor blades, and then using the composite VHA main blades.

Unlike the tail rotor blade test, which showed a dramatic drop in noise between the metal blade and the VHA composite blade, the main rotor blade was less conclusive. While the VHA main rotor blade met FAA acoustic requirements, there was not enough difference between the metal and composite blades to show a definitive drop in decibels. VHA personnel believe that atmospheric conditions and the difference in noise signature between the two blades may have accounted for test results. The test was not run with metal tail rotor blades.

VHA personnel and others who operate VHA main and tail rotor blades notice a marked difference in the cabin compared to flying the OEM metal blades. VHA intends to run the acoustics test again during the 206L main rotor blade program, and will update this page with the results.