Kaman Aerospace Group has launched a composite blade development programme for the K-MAX helicopter. The multi-year programme consists of design, manufacture, test and qualification of an all-composite blade for Kaman's intermeshing rotor system. The anticipated benefits of a composite blade include smoother airfoil, increased performance, reduced maintenance, fewer overhaul inspection requirements and extended blade life.
After certification, Kaman will incorporate the composite blade on new production aircraft and work with customers to retrofit the existing fleet. “The ability to provide state-of-the-art blade technology to our operators is another step in our efforts to improve the best-in-class performance of the K-MAX aircraft,” says K-MAX programmes executive director Doug Perreault.
Development of the K-MAX was led by Kaman founder and former CEO Charles H Kaman, and received FAA certification in 1994. The single engine, single seat, low maintenance aircraft features a counter-rotating rotor system. It is optimised for external load operations and designed specifically for vertical reference flight. The aircraft can lift up to 6,000 lbs, or 2,722 kg.