VI Rotorblade FAQs

Below is a list of questions and answers about the Vortech, Inc.* (VI) extruded-aluminum rotorblades. Please carefully read through the list for information you might be seeking. If the answers to your questions aren't included, you may use the "Contact Us" form.

Q. What do I receive when ordering a set of VI rotorblades?
A. Unless otherwise noted, each set of rotorblades includes (1) a pair of full-length airfoils (rotorblades); (2) a pair of leading-edge extrusions, which strengthen and help balance each blade; (3) blade mounting plates, which transform each blade's curved surface to a flat surface for mounting; (4) a set of root and tip caps. Blade-mounting instructions are also included.
Q. Which kinds of rotorcraft are the VI blades suitable for?
A. The blades come in profiles and lengths for virtually any homebuilt, sport, experimental or ultralight helicopter or gyroplane. The blades have also been used for windpower generators and airboats. For helicopters, the blades are available both for the main and tail rotor system.
Q. What is required for mounting the rotor blades?
A. A simplified description is as follows: The rotorblades, which come in fixed lengths, are cut to the exact length required. The leading-edge extrusions, cut to the same length as the blades, are epoxied in each leading-edge cell. The blade mounting plates are cut to the required length; then, with mounting plates secured in place, the blade's root end is drilled in the pattern required to mount to the helicopter's or gyroplane's hub bar. Each individual blade is balanced, then mounted and aligned, and finally the complete rotor system is balanced per the instructions provided. (For a quick overview of the process see the review at this site.)
Q. Is set-up of the VI blades easy?
A. Yes! See above.
Q. Will VI precut my rotorblades?

A. Usually. Cutting the blades to size is easily done by the user as part of the general mounting procedure.
Q. Are resources available to help me setup my VI rotorblades?
A. Yes, upon request VI will refer you to individuals or companies that provide this service.
Q. What materials are the VI blades made of?
A. For the extruded aluminum blades the airfoil of our 8" chord 8-H-12 rotorblades is made of aircraft-grade aluminum with a glasslike powder-coated finish. The blade grips are made of 6061-T6 and the root and tip caps are made of composite material. Our smaller blades, including the 2"up to the 6.25" blades, are formed of 6063-T6. All leading-edge spars and blade mounting blades if included are formed of 6061-T6 aluminum.  (See the online article.) 
Q. Are detailed mounting instructions included with the blades?
A. Yes.
Q. Have the blades been tested?
A. Yes. One such report (review) is provided at this website.
Q. What sorts of stresses and weights can the blades withstand?
A. The blades have been successfully tested for one- and two-place helicopters and gyrocopters, with weights up to about 1,500 lbs. Greater weights may be possible as well. See the article at this site. Further reports will be published as soon as possible.
Q. What is their life expectancy?
A. Tests and analyses have indicated that, in practical use, the rotor blades should provide at least 1,000 and up to about 2,000 hours of flight. At a modest cruise speed of 65 mph, this equates to between 65,000 and 130,000 miles of flight—that is, around 22 to 44 coast-to-coast fights across the continental U.S.! However, actual blade life depends on many factors, encompassing environmental, mechanical, load and rpm, etc. Every flight must be preceded by preflight checks of the blades (and all other systems), and at least every 250 hours an A&P should assess blade condition.
Q. Can the rotorblades be anodized?
A. Although the blades can be anodized, this may tend to make the surface brittle and shorten blade life. Some builders may choose to apply a coat of Imron to the blades for appearance and to further protect them against weather, corrosion, etc.
Q. What is the weight for the various blade sizes?
A. The following figures are the weights for each size of the aluminum blades with the leading-edge spar in place:
8" chord 0012: 2.58 lbs/ft;    8" chord 8-H-12: 2.38 lbs/ft;    7" chord 0012: 2 lbs/ft;    6.25" chord 8-H-12: 1.4 lbs/ft;    5.7" chord 0012: 1.2 lbs/ft;   4.75" chord 8-H-12: .8 lbs/ft;    4" chord 0012: .67 lbs/ft;    3.5" chord 0012: .6 lbs/ft;    2.75" chord 0012: .33 lbs/ft.

Q. Are the blades available with a twist to improve lift?
A. No. Providing the blades with a twist would make their cost prohibitive. However, their extremely high performance and smooth flight characteristics fully offset the absence of a twist. The VI blades will notably increase the performance and efficiency of most popular designs.
Q. Will VI provide advice on blade sizes (chord X length) to use for various homebuilt or experimental rotorcraft?
A. VI's role is exclusively that of seller of high-quality blades for a wide variety of rotorcraft. Rotorblade selection entails knowledge of many variables and interrelated factors that must be the responsibility of the end user. Because of these and other considerations, including liability issues, VI cannot provide specific recommendations. For consultation on these matters, users should contact individuals or firms that specialize in rotorcraft design and engineering.
Q. Are the rotorblades pre-finished before shipment?
A. Somewhat, but still require finishing by the user. This involves "prepping" the blades — i.e., sanding and polishing to remove any surface discoloration or blemishes and provide a smooth, shiny finish. The blades may then be painted.

Q. Do the blades have (or require) FAA approval?
A. No. FAA approval is not required for ultralight aircraft or their components. For Experimental aircraft, the FAA will examine and, if it meets their criteria, certify the entire craft, which, of course, includes the rotorblades. The rotorblades do not require their own separate certification to be used on Experimental rotorcraft.
Q. Do we sell hubs for the blades?
A. Yes, hubs for helicopters and gyroplanes are available through VI. 
Q. Have the blades been reviewed? If so, where?
A. Yes. One such review is at this site—a review from Rotorcraft magazine. Plus, there is a reprint of an article from Homebuilt Rotorcraft magazine.
Q. Are the blades suitable for commercial helicopters?
A. The blades come in sizes suitable for helicopters such as the Robinson R22 and numerous other designs, but they are not certified for such use.
Q. How long have the VI Rotorblades been on the market?
A. Extruded blades have been on the market for decades, but the current line of improved, powder-coated extruded blades are relatively new.
Q. Have any accidents or blade failures been reported for the new line of VI blades?
A. No.
Q. What forms of payment do we accept?
A. You can pay for your rotorblades by check, money order or cash. Credit card payments will be accepted for U.S. orders only. All payments must be in U.S. funds.
Q. How long will it take for my order to arrive?
A. VI tries to prepare and ship orders as quickly as possible. Typically, from the time we receive payment in full, orders are shipped in 2 to 3 weeks. Our composite rotorblades will take much longer. The tail rotorblades are typically shipped with a week.
Q. Can we make immediate shipments?
A. The order volume plus the blade-preparation and crating process make it difficult for orders to be shipped sooner than a 2 to 3 week time frame. However, those that wish to save time and related shipping costs may arrange to pick up the rotorblades directly at our facility. No order will be released unless a pre-arrangement has been made.
Q. Can the blades be shipped C.O.D.?
A. No. All orders must be prepaid. However, shipping cost may be paid on delivery.
Q. What is the shipping cost?
A. Shipping cost depends on the size and weight of the total order and the recipient's address. A shipping quote may be provided when you order when possible, but a final cost may not be available until the order has been crated for shipment.
Q. Can the blades be shipped anywhere in the world?
A. Yes. For worldwide shipments, VI uses various international shipping companies. However, the customer may specify their own shipping company/agent if they currently have one.
Q. What are the sizes and weights of the crates for shipping the various size blades?
A. For the 12' long rotors, the crate is 12" x 12" x 12.6' and weighs 66 lbs. For the 13' long rotors, the crate is 12" x 12" x 13.6' and weighs 69 lbs.
Q. What shipping companies are used for shipping the blades?
A. In the United States the blades may be shipped by such companies as Freight Quote, Echo Global Logistics, Yellow Freight or another common carrier. Tail rotor blades are usually shipped by USPS or UPS (see cost on the Order Form). For foreign shipments, VI may use Echo Global Logistics, Seko Logistics, Kintetsu World Express or another such company. As previously stated, the customer may use their own shipping company/agent.
Q. Can the main rotor blades be shipped by UPS?
A. The main rotor blades are typically too large for UPS shipment. When ordered separately, the tail rotor blades are usually shipped by USPS or UPS (within the United States).

*Vortech, Inc. is a distributor for various manufacturers.

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