Proud owner of a Jet Exec (turbine) RotorWay helicopter, Joseph Luiz completed his build in late 2017. In attendance for the 2015 EAA AirVenture fly-in convention (Oshkosh), he scoured the grounds to find an affordable, easy-to-use track and balance system for his RotorWay copter. Joe states “I went to Oshkosh with a mission; I went to every single booth that was providing this type of equipment because I needed something that worked flawlessly and provided peace of mind."
Before acquiring a track and balance solution, Joe had an unsuccessful attempt to balance the high-speed tail rotor on his RotorWay. “I ended up bending a shaft because I really didn't know how to properly balance.” At AirVenture, Joe visited the RPX Technologies booth where he discovered and bought a complete DynaVibe system with the DynaTrack optical tracking accessory. The DynaTrack simplified the helicopter track and balance with built-in setup information specifically for his RotorWay, as well as a compiled database of other helicopter systems.
Joe is using DynaVibe and DynaTrack to perform dynamic main and tail rotor balancing, as well as blade tracking. “It's been very simple and easy to use. With rotorcraft, you've got all this dynamic action occurring in unison, so it has to be just right. There is truly no margin of error, and I found DynaTrack helps eliminate that error.” He was able to track and balance his RotorWay’s main blades in a hover with one reading and one slave blade adjustment. DynaTrack representatives recommended that he begin the process by doing a hover track to make an initial assessment: “I did the readings and found I was three quarters of an inch out on my slave blade. I consulted the documentation, and it looked like I needed to make a pitch change on the slave blade to bring it down to match the master blade. I made a half turn on the slave blade and brought it within a tenth of an inch, and it was a night and day in performance. It was amazing, and I did that with one measurement! The change in performance and vibration levels was just phenomenal.”
Joe continues to use his DynaTrack to achieve optimal performance. “I'm flying, and I'm doing my dynamic main rotor blade tracking right now using the DynaTrack.” Joe also uses the DynaVibe system to balance the tail rotor. The result is a smoother flight and peak performance. Eliminating the vibrations that come from unbalanced or out-of-track rotors also reduces stress on the airframe, engine, and instruments. “For the amount of money that I spent and the functionality of the equipment, it was a no-brainer. The price was important to me because I'm not in the business of doing this. I wanted to get the best equipment I could without breaking the bank. Overall, I'm very satisfied with the equipment.”
His advice to fellow builders and/or owners? “Don’t beat around the bush on this one, the DynaTrack will ultimately save you thousands of dollars in prevented misbalances, provide optimal performance, and ensure peace of mind in its use. Simply put: just buy it.”
Learn more about DynaTrack by clicking on the yellow, "Contact Us" tab.
With ATC watching for traffic and aware of my position and situation, I could concentrate more on the problem at hand. What was I missing? "It must be fuel," I thought. "Tanks are full. Fuel selector on 'Both.' Mixture rich.... Nothing is helping. So what now?"
"Fly the plane. Fly the plane. Fly the plane. Trim for best glide. Set a direct heading to the airport. You get one shot. What are the winds? Manage energy... Uhm. Oh sh*t, there's a damn lake at the end of the runway! You must be kidding."
Let's just say that I approached high and dropped the flaps at the last minute. I may have landed long. But I wasn't wet! Or worse!
Right before touching down (yes, on the runway) I remember thinking about how I was going to have to PUSH the plane from the runway to get it clear. But, that wasn't the case. As soon as the wheels touched the runway, the engine started and ran perfectly. Unbelievable. I taxied to parking. Fifteen minutes later, I was able to think straight, get my legs under me and exit the airplane.
If you carefully read the POH for early Cessna 172s, the POH cautions you about flying on both tanks when cruising at altitudes over 5000 ft. Doing so may cause "power irregularities" (A.K.A. engine failure). But I guess this is okay if it is in the POH. Just switch to one tank, ignore the sputtering, glide for 60 (very long) seconds, then switch to the other tank and hope the vapor has cleared and the engine restarts. That is why many early Cessna 172s have a placard on the fuel selector (between the seats, out of sight) that says something to the effect of "Use single tank above 5000 ft." Yes, on those models, it matters.
The decision to fly on Left, Right, or Both may not be a simple judgement call. The decision shouldn't be based on the consensus opinion of you and your buddies. And the proper option may not even seem logical. You must read the POH, ADs, and ACs for your aircraft and follow their guidance. Your life may depend on it.
Example C172 POH: http://rob.com/matt/manuals/172_poh_59.pdf
Actual Fuel Management Procedure - 1959 Cessna 172
Whether or not you originally purchased your DynaVibe system with the NIST certification, year-end is a good time to think about calibrating your DynaVibe. Why does it matter? Here are some reasons to consider sending your DynaVibe in for calibration:
Compliance. You may have a requirement to keep your DynaVibe unit compliant with FAA requirements for tool calibrations. This needs to happen annually, and you can tell when your DynaVibe system calibration is due by the following methods:
Convenience. When the certification on tools that need calibration lapses, it creates inconvenience and can delay service procedures that require them. RPX makes calibrating your DynaVibe unit simple: send your unit in, and we calibrate and return it within a few days!
Confidence. Calibrating your DynaVibe ensures that the accuracy hasn’t drifted and the readings are precise.
When you send your DynaVibe to RPX for calibration, the team does a complete inspection of your unit, calibrating it, inspecting the cables and accelerometers, and for GX units, upgrading to latest version of firmware. Furthermore, the calibration process is fast, taking only a couple of days and return shipping, UPS Ground, is free in the United States*! The RPX technicians will even include a new strip of reflective tape for calibrations done before year-end 2017.
To have your DynaVibe unit calibrated, simply contact the RPX team:
To have your DynaVibe system calibrated, simply visit the RPX online store to place your order (the cost of calibrating a DynaVibe Classic is $149, and $249 for a GX unit). If you have any questions about the DynaVibe calibration process, please contact us:
Offer: For a limited time, get $1,000 for trading in your DynaVibe Classic for a new DynaVibe GX3, which comes with NIST certification. Call us for details!
* Free UPS Ground shipping to lower 48 states only; Alaska and Hawaii not included.
Your prop was statically balanced at the factory and that's good enough?
A static balance may balance the prop but it does not correct the net imbalance of the rotating assembly.
This is a relatively new, statically balanced prop on a Cessna 210. The first "statically balanced" reading was 0.6 IPS, which is pretty typical. It took 10 large washers (mind the reflection which makes it look like 20) on the spinner to pull it into balance (0.06 IPS).
This may look like a lot of weight, but the rotational forces are now neutral! Before the prop was dynamically balanced, this is the amount of weight was constantly shaking the airplane and stressing every part of the engine and airframe. That's a LOT of stress at 2000+ RPM!!!
The point is that a prop static balance is not enough. The static balance gets the balance in the ball park but you really need to balance the entire assembly. Not just the prop. The latest data that we have been analyzing shows that around 80% of all GA aircraft are flying with imbalanced props even though most were statically balanced.
Running your air cooled engine with the cowl removed is harder on the engine than you may realize. Uncowled, air is blown over the cylinders and not through the cylinder's cooling fins. So the bottom of the engine is left to heat-soak and the top is cooled. This uneven heating results in distorted cylinders which damages the cylinders and the moving parts inside the cylinders.
Continental recommends fabricating a scoop out of sheet metal for use when running up the engine on the ground when the cowl is removed. This provides a safe amount of airflow for runups and can usually be constructed in a way that it is out of the way for most maintenance procedures. (Drawing credit: Continental Motors)
I've found a live round in an "unloaded" gun and I've found a hot mag before grabbing a prop! Both are sobering, possibly deadly, experiences and they both happen more than you think.
During shutdown, the procedure drilled into my head when learning to fly was "Mixture, Master, Mags." I can still hear my flight instructor's voice today. And before hooking a tow bar to a plane, I ALWAYS verify "Key out?" NOT "Mags off?" Here's why.
"Mixture, Master, Mags," deplane, grab the tow bar, reach for the prop to turn it so it clears the tow bar. Are the mags off? Are you sure? Of course! You remember turning the key just a second ago. All safe.
Ok, Look at the key. That's not off! That's why the procedure is "Key Out!" and preferably on top of the panel where you can see it.
Royal Lee Organics is a subsidiary of Standard Process®. Since 1929, Standard Process has been dedicated to the field of nutritional supplements and the whole food philosophy introduced by Dr. Royal Lee. Royal Lee Organics provides organic ingredients as well as a re-designed version of Dr. Lee’s household flour mill that was originally designed in 1949.
When Dr. Lee first developed the mill in the 1940’s, he was concerned about what was happening to flour. In order to avoid spoilage, commercial mills were discarding the germ and the bran through a process called extraction, resulting in a less nutritious ingredient. Dr. Lee provided an alternative, allowing bakers to purchase and store grains in their natural state and mill them at home when needed. The result was fresh flour with all of its naturally occurring nutrients.
The original Lee flour mills were manufactured by hand, and many of them from the past 50 years are still in use which is a testament to the reliability and durability of the design. The previous manufacturing process, however, was expensive and time-consuming, so the engineering team made some changes to the flour mill in order manufacture it in a production environment.
One of the challenges the engineering team dealt with involved the rotating disk inside the mill. This disk creates an air current that rubs the grains up against the stone, an action that reduces the grains into flour. This disk rotates at high speeds, between 5,000 and 10,000 RPM. Anytime a component that rotates at such high speeds is out-of-balance, it will create problems. The least of these problems is that the machine becomes louder, which is unpleasant for the user. A more damaging consequence is that vibrations from out-of-balance conditions can cause early life failure of the motor. For these reasons, the Lee engineering team spent a lot of time determining what to do about balancing these rotating disks.
The team considered sending the disks to a third party for professional balancing, but that option proved too expensive and impractical. Instead, the team developed a manufacturing process that produces disks that are true and round. This resulted in a component that is as “in-balance” as possible. To verify this, the Lee Engineering team built a testing procedure using the DynaVibe GX2 system to measure vibration of the motor and rotating disk. Now, the vibration level of every flour mill is tested before it leaves the factory, ensuring that they fall within the specification limits the engineering team developed through various trials.
DynaVibe is helping assure that consumers are getting flour mills that live up to the traditions of quality and reliability for which the brand is known. The full vibration spectrum and balance data that DynaVibe provides also gives the Lee Engineering team baseline metrics and set of benchmarks the team can use to further improve the design of the mill in the future. With DynaVibe, there is certainty about how much vibration may exist and where it comes from. This helps ensure that the flour mills that leave the factory meet the standard of excellence.
To learn how DynaVibe can address your equipment balancing or vibration analysis needs, simply enter your email address in the box below. Shop for a DynaVibe system in the online store, or contact us with your questions at 405.896.0026 or email@example.com.
In the space of a few years, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones have gone from being in the domain of the military or hobbyists to mainstream. An article in Business Insider shares data from a PwC report predicting that drones could replace billions of dollars of human labor, as the chart from this article shows:
As the chart illustrates, drones are projected to have the biggest commercial impact in the infrastructure and agriculture sectors. For example, human inspections of wind turbines are costly and potentially dangerous. SkySpecs, a startup company deploys drones to conduct safe, automated inspections at about half the cost of human inspections.
The RPX Technologies team recently participated in the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Xponential exhibition, where the interest in dynamic balancing and vibration analysis for drones was high. It’s easy to understand the reason why: The commercial use of UAVs almost always involves high quality, high-resolution video or photography, and vibration impairs this application. Furthermore, sustained vibration can lead to failure of airframes, instruments and engines in just the same way it does in sport, general and commercial aviation aircraft. Commercial drone operators are discovering that DynaVibe helps ensure they are delivering the highest quality services to their clients, while also keeping their fleets at maximum readiness.
DynaVibe is a dynamic propeller balancing and vibration analyzing system. Simple to use, it allows UAV owners and operators to quickly measure and resolve propeller vibration. While vibration dampening mounts and gimbals can help minimize the effects of vibration, the best approach is to eliminate it altogether. Eliminating vibration is of particular importance with UAVs, because these lighter structure aircraft are more prone to shake from vibration than are larger, heavier aircraft.
The DynaVibe GX2 also allows users to conduct full-spectrum vibration surveys to identify and resolve vibration from sources other than the propeller. The benefit of dynamically balancing and analyzing the vibration of drones is the smoothest, quietest flight to enable maximum resolution of photography, and highest possible uptime of all flight systems. To learn more about the benefits of DynaVibe for UAV operations, contact us by phone at 405.896.0026 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Shop in our online store for DynaVibe. Or, simply provide your email address in the form below and we’ll contact you.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), or drones as they are commonly known, are subject to the same vibration issues as other propeller-driven aircraft. An unbalanced prop assembly can create vibrations that damage the engine, airframe instruments and interfere with the mission.
Excessive vibration can interfere with the mission of a UAV, particularly those used for surveillance, reconnaissance, and aerial filming or photography. Vibration can distort the image. Vibration dampening camera mounts and gimbals are commonly used in UAVs to deal with this problem, but the ideal solution is to eliminate the source of the vibration. Balancing the propeller assembly with DynaVibe easily does this, and the DynaVibe Classic provides an affordable solution for UAV operators who need to the highest possible image quality.
For more information about the benefits of dynamically balancing UAV propeller assemblies, contact the DynaVibe team by phone at 405.896.0026 or by email: email@example.com. Visit our online store to shop for DynaVibe, or simply provide your email address in the form below and we’ll contact you.
Bob Pastusek is vice-president and a board member of the Lancair Owners & Builders Organization – LOBO – and is their go-to maintenance guy. A few years ago, the LOBO Board became concerned that people were not tuning up their airplanes properly; they were not following all the recommended engine and airplane manufacturer’s guidelines in doing their condition inspections. “Experimental owners are not obliged to follow them,” said Pastusek. “Nonetheless, like putting air in your tires or oil in your engine, some recommendations are more significant than others. We came to the conclusion that some people were not doing some of the important ones, based on accidents and probable cause findings that indicated maintenance wasn’t as good on these airplanes as it could be.”
In December 2014, LOBO put together a kit of materials for testing and inspecting the engines, specifically Continental aircraft engines. “This worked out really well for us,” Pastusek continued. “So at the fall LOBO fly-in, we asked what people (members) thought about it, and the feedback expressed a desire to include some additional equipment in the kit. One of the principal requested pieces of equipment was a prop balancer.”
Pastusek first learned about the DynaVibe propeller balancing system at Oshkosh four or five years ago. He bought one for his local EAA chapter and has used it several times to help chapter members balance their props. “Having personal experience with DynaVibe, knowing that it works and that it is a reasonably priced piece of gear that our average homebuilder could figure out how to use, we bought new DynaVibe systems to include in our three engine inspection and tune-up kits.”
Pastusek recognizes the importance of keeping the prop in balance. “It makes the airplane engine run smoother, with less wear-and-tear on the engine. The aircraft is much more pleasant to fly.” In general, Lancairs use factory-balanced, high-end adjustable pitch props. “They come pretty well balanced; we generally don’t have an issue with props significantly out-of-balance. However, there are a couple of things that homebuilders can do, particularly in mounting the spinners and things like that, that can cause them to be out of balance. It’s a very easy thing to check and improve. If you find the prop out of balance and fix it, it really makes the airplane run a lot smoother. These are very large engines in relatively small and lightweight aircraft, so a prop imbalance will shake the airplane around pretty well.”
The LOBO engine test kit with the DynaVibe prop balancing system is expected to be available to members in April 2016. “We think the DynaVibe is a relatively sophisticated but easy tool to use in the field,” Pastusek concluded. “It works like a champ.”
The affordable DynaVibe Classic propeller balancing system is just $1,495 shop for it the DynaVibe online store. If you'd like to know more about DynaVibe, please contact us at 405.896.0026, firstname.lastname@example.org, or simply enter your email address in the form below and we'll contact you!