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AH-64 APTER rotor blade repair successful
AH-64 APTER rotor blade repair successful
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AH-64 APTER rotor blade repair successful


In June 2020 after a development of 2 years the first Apache helicopter of the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) flew with main rotor blades repaired with the new APTER method. Since then several main rotor blades have been repaired with this new repair method, by SPECTO Aerospace.

The abbreviation APTER stands for Apache Trailing Edge Repair and is developed by SPECTO Aerospace, together with ADSE, Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR), the Dutch Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO)and the Logistic Centre Woensdrecht of the RNLAF.

Apache AH-64D helicopter main rotor blades suffer from weakening of the (adjustable) trim tabs after many flight hours and trim tab adjustments. A complete replacement of the entire trailing edge by the OEM was until now the only standard available solution and due to the major impact on the blade, led to long turnaround times and high cost.

SPECTO started the development of a new repair method answering a request of Programme Management of the Logistic Centre Woensdrecht. The engineering firm ADSE supported with engineering and the National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR) performed the sample testing. The new repair procedure was reviewed and validated by the Apache Type Certificate holder within DMO.

During the repair development, several tests were performed by NLR. The development was concluded with a full repair and a “First Article Inspection” (FAI). Next step was the final phase of testing the repaired blades during test-flights which were completed successfully in the course of the summer, followed by the approval of the repair method by the Type Certificate Holder, DMO. Since then, a series of blades have been repaired that were unserviceable for a long time.

The APTER project is an example of the strategic collaboration between the RNLAF and the cluster of parties located at Main Support Base Woensdrecht. The result of this collaboration is a fast and affordable solution for the RNLAF and will benefit other international operators of the Apache AH64D when required.