I am trying to understand how adding offset hinges would provide a self-feathering force. Does anyone have more information on Delta hinges on helicopters? I am a bit confused with the information I have available. A video would be nice, but I couldn't fidn much on YouTube.

Here are two references illustrating the concept, and a picture from the first link (b). Delta-3 Hinge Delta-3 Hinge - AOPA Explanation Delta-3 Hinge

The AOPA explanation does not have the offset/angled blade: AOPA Delta-3 hinge explanation


1 Answer 1


It's because the blade's span-wise axis is "swept" relative to its flapping hinge line, so when it flaps, the sweep angle results in the blade's effective AOA changing somewhat (for the advancing blade, reducing; that's what the feathering part means).

To picture it, imaging you are standing directly in front of the tail rotor disc watching the advancing blade of the plain rotor come over the top or bottom straight toward you. All you see is its thin leading edge. If the plain blade flaps left or right, still all you see is the thin leading edge because the blade's axis is perpendicular to the feathering hinge axis.

Now imagine the Delta three rotor blade from the same vantage point, and the hinge flaps left or right. Because the blade's span-wise axis is offset, or "trailing" the flapping hinge axis, you will be able to see some of the upper or lower surface of the blade from your vantage point when it flaps. To the airstream, this is effectively a slight reduction in AOA ("feathering") compared to the AOA of the unflapped blade as set by the pitch change linkage (or an increase when flapping while retreating).

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think that makes sense! Thank you! $\endgroup$
    – Gerry
    Jan 13, 2020 at 22:15

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