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MMike

Inlet Barrier Filter Vs. Paritcle Separator

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I sat in on some info sessions at Heli-expo regarding this topic. Both seem to have their benefits.

 

But I'm curious what you guys think?

 

IBF intuitively seems to make more sense to me. I have cleaned and oiled K&N filters on my old Camaro. So I can relate to it. But there must be something to the particle separator too.......

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Machines working off a base with a spare inlet filter and the supplies to service them are a good combination. Having to carry those supplies in the spares boxes for a field machine are a pain. I have cleaned them in hotel bathtub, not all that convenient. Have had snow melt and freeze on an ibf, causing a blockage. When they block because the air is too dirty, you will get unfiltered air. That could reduce your ability to operate in snow until the filter gets serviced and hopefully you have a spare. Not quickly replaceable on a LR w/c30.

 

Particle separators offer less, but still good protection. Unfortunately can be contaminated by fod especially when the engine isn't running, when no bleed air is provided to run the system.

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Yeah basically you're confirming what I thought. There really is no clear winner. I hadn't actually thought about the FOD issue when the engine isn't running. The IBF guy was saying that he's had to fish individual straws out of the vortex tubes on a particle sep when they landed in a field out in the mid-west US somewhere.

 

And of course it will always depend on where you are I suppose. Apparently Maverick in the Grand Canyon runs particle sep on their EC130's and are pleased as punch. Not a lot of snow down there.....just sand/dust....so I guess the particle sep would do ok.

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Paper filtre all the way. They can be more maintenance intensive but they work way better at keeping the fine particulate out of your engine and they don't rob power from bleed air. Having experience with both types, I have to say IBF. I do worry about snow and ice bulidup on the AS350 but the cover is always there and we haven't had any problems like that. Agreed you need a spare ready to go if you want continuous operations because a proper cleaning and drying cycle will take almost 2 days. Now, if you like part.sep's then I've heard that the turbomeca one is superior to the Eurocopter one. The longranger part.sep. is great as long as the solenoid works and the jetranger ones are o.k. but you can't shut them off and they still require regular cleaning.

 

I've done side by side comparisons on the AS350, one with part.sep., one with IBF. after 100hrs, when you run your hand in the intake, you will come out with a fine dust on your hand. Dirty from the part.sep. and almost no dust from the IBF.

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We are seeing almost no erosion on our A-Star compressors with the IBF filters after 3000 hours.

With the particle separator, (sand filter for Eurocopter), the compressors had a fair bit of erosion at the 3000 o/h.

 

So I am sold on the IBF.

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Apparently changing the IBF can be classified as "elementary maintenance"...

 

Working out of pretty sandy/dusty places, the IBF can foul quickly. Gotta avoid the brown-out locations! Had a fuel cache in a place like that, made a coupla' crewhands quad there to hook up loads so I could sling 'em to a better location.

 

DM

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I've run both IPS and Filters. I'll take the filter everytime. The losses just having the particle separator panel installed make the engine run hotter. Over time that's what kills the turbine wheels. As far as getting dust out of the air, the IPS gets big stuff but light sand still gets through and eats the compressor. Worst thing is when you need to run the bleed air for the discharge, is just when you need the power and have to shut it off.

 

Pulled off the IPS on a 407, installed the AFS kit. Instant jump of +15 on the powercheck. Also I'd watch which filter system you buy. The FDC kit terrible to clean the filter on the 407, plus you have to use their oil. NO going to the auto parts store and getting K&N, which sucks if you're in the field. With FDC you also can not use snow baffles, nice to find out after you install the kit.

 

One drawback to all of them is having to carry a spare filter which is expensive.

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Donaldson said you have to use their "tackifier" and their detergent to make it work properly.

 

 

It sort of sounds like if you are going to spend all day long in the desert, you might want to go particle sep. Even though it may not protect as well, it will let you go all day long. The IBF would clog, and then you'd have to open the bypass. But for pretty much everything else, IBF would be the way to go?

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Apparently changing the IBF can be classified as "elementary maintenance"...

 

Working out of pretty sandy/dusty places, the IBF can foul quickly. Gotta avoid the brown-out locations! Had a fuel cache in a place like that, made a coupla' crewhands quad there to hook up loads so I could sling 'em to a better location.

 

DM

Possibly yes for the AStar, but not for the longranger because there is too much disassembly required. I can't really see a pilot doing that much work unless they're an engineer too. :D

 

Also, the FDC sprayer needs compressed air, so pack some sort of little pump in the spares and the oil needs to be kept warm to properly spray.

 

I guess the real test would be to take one aircraft type and compare cost of installation, upkeep, filter media used, engine overhaul for both filter types over a few cycles. Anybody with such a comparison?

 

Bombing around in an AStar that's packed to the roof with field kit, I did like having the separator and not having to pack that spare filter.

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