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The maximum load factor will be achieved at...

  • A

    Best range speed.

  • B


  • C

    Best Endurance speed.

  • D

    Zero airspeed.

Load Factor (n) is the ratio of the total aerodynamic force (lift) to the weight of the aircraft. In level flight, where lift equals weight, the load factor is 1. This means the structure of the helicopter is experiencing a force equivalent to its weight.

Effect of Gusts, Turns, and Climb:

  • Gusts/Turbulence: When an aircraft encounters turbulent air or gusts, it experiences sudden changes in lift. These changes cause variations in the load factor.

  • Turns: During a turn, the lift force needs to counteract not only the weight but also the centrifugal force generated by the turn. This results in an increased load factor. The tighter the turn, the higher the load factor.

  • Climb/Descent: Similarly, during climbs or descents, the lift must counteract not only the weight but also the component of weight acting along or against the flight path, respectively. This also affects the load factor.

Effect of Speed: Higher speeds generally lead to higher lift coefficients (assuming other factors such as angle of attack remain constant). Therefore, at higher speeds, the aircraft generates more lift for the same angle of attack, resulting in a higher load factor. The load factor will reach its maximum value at never exceed speed (VNE).

Structural Stress: Load factor is a critical consideration in helicopter design because it directly relates to the stress on the aircraft's structure. Structural elements must be designed to withstand the maximum expected load factors during normal and exceptional flight conditions.

Limitations: Aircraft have design limitations on load factors, both positive (usually for manoeuvring) and negative (for instance, during descent or negative-g manoeuvres), to ensure the structural integrity of the aircraft is not compromised.

In essence, load factor is a fundamental parameter in aviation safety and design, influencing various aspects of flight performance and structural integrity.

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