Types of Helicopter Rotor Systems

Fully Articulated Rotor

A fully articulated rotor is found on aircraft with more than two blades and allows movement of each individual blade in three directions. In this design, each blade can rotate about the pitch axis to change lift; each blade can move back and forth in plane, lead and lag; and flap up and down through a hinge independent of the other blades.

Articulated rotor head

Semirigid Rotor

The semirigid rotor design is found on aircraft with two rotor blades. The blades are connected in a manner such that as one blade flaps up, the opposite blade flaps down.

Rigid Rotor

The rigid rotor system is a rare design but potentially offers the best properties of both the fully articulated and semirigid rotors. In this design, the blade roots are rigidly attached to the rotor hub. The blades do not have hinges to allow lead-lag or flapping. Instead, the blades accommodate these motions by using elastomeric bearings. Elastomeric bearings are molded, rubber-like materials that are bonded to the appropriate parts. Instead of rotating like conventional bearings, they twist and flex to allow proper movement of the blades.