HomeNewsArticle Display

Engineers testing eight-blade prop for C-130

A C-130H3 with eight-bladed NP 2000 propellers taxis during a flight test recently at Edward AFB, Calif. The NP 2000 props are designed to provide more thrust and perform more efficiently. (Air Force photo/John Perry)

A C-130H3 with eight-bladed NP 2000 propellers taxis during a flight test recently at Edwards AFB, Calif. The NP 2000 props are designed to provide more thrust and perform more efficiently. (Air Force photo/John Perry)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) -- Engineers with the 418th Flight Test Squadron are currently testing a C-130H3 cargo plane equipped with Hamilton Sundstrand NP 2000 propellers.

The new eight-bladed composite propellers are shaped to provide additional thrust in the takeoff and low airspeed range while using the current C-130 engines.

Regular C-130 "legacy" planes use four-blade propellers. With eight blades, the NP 2000 props are designed to perform with more power and efficiency.

"A major limitation propellers have is the wave drag generated by shockwaves when the propeller tips go supersonic," said Dustin Marschik, a 418th FTS performance and flying qualities engineer. "Newer propeller designs aim to reduce this wave drag, which improves efficiency and performance. The NP 2000 blade design incorporates a more efficient airfoil design, which theoretically will lead to improved performance in the takeoff and climb out phases of flight.

"The eight-bladed props are much more efficiently designed and utilize modern design and manufacturing methods which aim to optimize twist and blade sweep to improve performance," Mr. Marschik said.

Computer simulation and the composite materials that make up the blades help engineers optimize the blade angle and twists to make the propeller faster and better.

"It is designed specifically for the LC-130 mission in Antarctica," said Maj. C.B. Cain, a C-130 flight commander. "Right now, they use these jet-assisted takeoff bottles to help them takeoff to get to about a 60-knot takeoff range. If this propeller does what it is supposed to do, then it would produce additional thrust and reduce the need for those JATO bottles, or eliminate them completely."

Engineers have been conducting performance testing since May on the NP 2000 propeller to characterize how the propeller performs to produce a flight manual for the LC-130, or any other C-130 that may be outfitted with the new prop.

The 418th engineers just wrapped up flight tests involving velocity minimum control airspeed Oct. 28, with Edward AFB's only C-130H3.

"This is where we shut down an engine on purpose and slow down to find the point where we have neutral directional control," Major Cain said. "It involves the pilot putting 180-pounds of rudder force in and then slowing, putting it in a five-degree bank angle, and seeing where the directional control switches back the other way."

"If you lose an engine, this is the slowest you ever want to get. Any slower and you wouldn't have positive control of the heading of the aircraft."

In the previous week, squadron testers completed takeoff tests to see how the cargo plane and its propellers perform on maximum-power takeoffs as well as landing tests, which included free-roll landings to see how the plane stops without using its brakes and using reverse thrust.

Major Cain said test data still needs to be analyzed, but preliminary testing has shown that the eight-bladed NP 2000 propeller provides noticeable drag on the free-roll landing tests and the C-130H3 seems to fly smoother.

He said with less vibration, there is less wear and tear on the propeller, which can also be an added benefit.

"Instead of four similar airfoil blades pounding around up there, you have these eight highly tuned blades that make it smoother with less vibration," Major Cain said. "From a maintainability standpoint, you can change one blade at a time. On the legacy four-blade C-130, you have to change out the whole prop."

This flight testing is a continuation of a process to improve the capability of the Air Force's workhorse C-130 fleet. The C-130J "Super" Hercules already employs a six-bladed composite propeller.

"The NP 2000 has been optimized more and represents the next step in propeller technology," said Major Cain.

In the coming months, the NP 2000 propellers will be replaced on the C-130H3 with legacy four-blade propellers to conduct flight tests to directly compare the performance differences between new and old.

Additional testing will involve taking off with a maximum combat-load weight and conducting takeoffs on three engines and malfunction simulations.

Major Cain said flight tests for the NP 2000 C-130H3 will likely go through January 2011.

Once all the data is assessed, and if Air Force officials see a solid benefit of the NP 2000, certain C-130s may get a new and improved upgrade in the future.

Engage

Twitter
RT @366FW: Air Force Chief of Staff @GenCQBrownJr shares some words of wisdom with our Gunfighters! Our Airmen continue to #acceleratecha
Twitter
April is recognized as the Month of the Military Child. The ever-changing military lifestyle impacts every member o… https://t.co/hmvocXQaGL
Twitter
Airmanship 200 is the second of three development courses that new #Airmen receive to better understand #AirForce v… https://t.co/1rueS9ToLP
Twitter
#ICYMI -- The Department of the Air Force published a website where #Airmen and @SpaceForceDoD #Guardians can acces… https://t.co/0YJcST5XaT
Twitter
Combating #COVID19 one shot at a time. https://t.co/EVyenHCi5D
Twitter
The Department of the Air Force-Massachusetts Institute of Technology Artificial Intelligence Accelerator is helpin… https://t.co/cfsdOX43hY
Twitter
.@LRAFB, Arkansas, Airmen completed 106 sorties, 254 flying hours, and nearly 2,000 training events during a multi-… https://t.co/3YOSh8DvcT
Twitter
Today is Gold Star Spouses Day. It honors the surviving loved ones of military service members killed in the line o… https://t.co/JYCacpkds5
Twitter
Everyone is susceptible to invisible wounds. These wounds have an impact can develop at any time, in any place, in… https://t.co/XxPKyovJc9
Twitter
#AirForce Civil Engineer Center Operation Directorate teams are following safety protocols and working closely with… https://t.co/4IjMrV240S
Twitter
RT @grandslamwing: Beware of frostbite 🥶 Our #TeamAUAB cryogenics team brave the heat of the flightline to deliver aircrew the frigid, but…
Twitter
Being able to recognize an invisible wound could save a life. Learn more about available resources here:… https://t.co/M9JOy6XRWn
Twitter
“When you believe in something, you just have to put your heart and soul into it and don’t worry about what the res… https://t.co/K44qwDwFMG
Twitter
Second Lt. Max Atkinson, a student pilot in the 71st Student Squadron at Vance AFB saved the life of a local motorc… https://t.co/SHv1e8Te6M
Twitter
The 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron conducted four functional ground tests of the Air Launched Cruise Missile at… https://t.co/jerYunV1vQ
Twitter
RT @CENTCOM: #Airmen from the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing @grandslamwing participated in the recent @USAFCENT's Agile Combat Employment ca…
Twitter
The Department of the #AirForce held a Virtual Industry Day on the Advanced Battle Management System acquisition ef… https://t.co/h36eGxfMKJ
Twitter
Take a look at the most recent Week in Photos! Which one is your favorite? More at: https://t.co/thFY9KXqud https://t.co/KzHQlzTovo
Twitter
Give CSAF Gen. Brown a follow at @GenCQBrownJr to get the latest insight about his strategic vision to… https://t.co/AgAHxPjkQJ
Twitter
.@USAF_ACC's U-2 Federal Laboratory at Beale AFB, California, executed the first rapid, successful in-flight test o… https://t.co/xD8fFXpXtX
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,340,310
Follow Us