Helicopter design is forging ahead with composites to achieve cleaner, quieter, and safer rotorcraft. The Airbus H160, Leonardo AW189, and Bell 525 are the latest civil helicopters to implement Hexcel’s composite materials to achieve higher efficiencies and advanced capabilities. Both the Eurocopter EC175 and the Sikorsky S-76D medium twin-engine helicopters are made with all-composite main rotor blades. The UH-60M Blackhawk integrates a full composite wide-chord rotorblade and more powerful engine which demonstrates an impressive extra 500 pounds of lift. The composite intensive V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor has been successfully demonstrated in service. Hexcel is a proud supplier to these and other programs, with a wide range of materials including: carbon fiber, reinforcements, epoxy prepregs, and honeycomb engineered core.

Typical Composite Applications in Helicopters 

  • Rotor blades: Carbon and glass prepreg (including carbon woven bias), honeycomb, engineered core, HexBond™ adhesive
  • Rotor hub: Carbon/epoxy prepreg
  • Glazing bars: Carbon and glass epoxy prepreg
  • Seats and interiors: Glass prepreg, honeycomb
  • Engine/body fairings/access panels: Glass, carbon and aramid prepregs with epoxy and BMI resins
  • Fuselage: Carbon and glass prepregs, honeycomb
  • Main and cargo doors: Carbon and glass epoxy prepreg, honeycomb and HexBond™ adhesive
  • Horizontal stabilizers: Glass, carbon and aramid prepregs
  • Fuselage panels: Carbon and glass epoxy prepreg, honeycomb and HexBond™ adhesive

Beyond Materials

Innovative blade production concepts from Hexcel’s Engineered Products group have resulted in contract wins to produce sub-assemblies and even a complete main rotor blade for the Sikorsky S-76D™.

Hexcel’s Engineered Products for Rotorcraft:

  • Skin to core assemblies
  • Blade skins
  • Tail rotor skins and skin to cores
  • Flight safety critical parts: MRB spars, TRB Flexbeams
  • Tip caps