Challenge

As the U.S. Army learned, traditional anti-chafe materials have proven to be ineffective over time in preventing damage from continuous vibration inherent to rotary wing aircraft. These Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopters had extensive damage that required the maintenance and repair of the helicopter structure, including:

  • The primer on the tail boom structure was worn away, uncovering bare metal and exposing the structure to corrosion.
  • Significant chafing and fretting wear were also present.

Solution

Working closely with U.S. Army technicians, Gore’s engineers installed GORE® SKYFLEX® Aerospace Tapes, 730 Series, between the panels and structure of each helicopter. Total preparation time and tape application took about 75 minutes per helicopter, followed by extensive flight testing through normal operational use. The process entailed the following steps:

  1. The structure was cleaned.
  2. Gore’s 730 Series tape was applied to the upper (PN: 7-311122616-601), middle (PN: 7-3111122622-55), and lower (PN: 7-3111122622-53) rib assemblies.
  3. In-flight testing was conducted under normal operational use, which showed:
    • Gore’s tapes, made from expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE), effectively sealed and protected the underlying aircraft structure after more than 482 flight hours.
    • They also provided a durable, low-friction barrier that absorbed the effects of continuous vibration.

Conclusion

The U.S. Army’s decision to apply GORE SKYFLEX Aerospace Tapes to its fleet of Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopters proved to be the right one. They reduced chafing damage in the area surrounding the fastener receptacles and panel attachment interface, and if the U.S. Army installed Gore’s tapes on comparable airframe structures, they should deliver similar results. What’s more, future tape applications should be more cost-effective and take less time, as any damaged tape areas can be replaced while leaving the undamaged portions in place.

Learn More About GORE SKYFLEX Aerospace Materials

GORE SKYFLEX Aerospace Tapes, 730 Series, enabled the U.S. Army to significantly reduce the need to repair or replace structural damage from vibration-related chafing on the AH-64 Apache helicopter. To learn how your aerospace application can benefit from GORE SKYFLEX Aerospace Materials, contact us today. Gore’s materials are available in form-in-place (FIP) tapes and gaskets. To get a quote or place an order, contact us or one of our authorized distributors.


FOR INDUSTRIAL USE ONLY

Not for use in food, drug, cosmetic or medical device manufacturing, processing, or packaging operations.