This paper presents 5 kHz stereo particle image velocimetry and OH planar laser induced fluorescence measurements of transversely forced swirl flames. The presence of transverse forcing on this naturally unstable flow both influences the natural instabilities, as well as amplifies disturbances that may not necessarily manifest themselves during natural oscillations. By manipulating the structure of the acoustic forcing field, both axisymmetric and helical modes are preferentially excited away from the frequency of natural instability. The paper presents a method for spatially interpolating the phase locked
planar velocity and flame position data, extracting the full three-dimensional structure of the helical disturbances. These helical disturbances are also decomposed into symmetric and anti-symmetric disturbances about the jet core, showing the subsequent axial evolution (in magnitude and phase) of each of these underlying disturbances. It is shown that out-of-phase acoustic forcing excites
modes, but the flow field preferentially amplifies the counter-winding, co-rotating helical disturbance over the co-winding, counter-rotating helical disturbance. This causes the flow and flame to transition from a transverse flapping near the jet exit to a precessing motion further downstream. In contrast, in-phase forcing promotes axisymmetric
disturbances which dominate the flow field over the entire axial domain. In both cases, the amplitudes of the anti-symmetric disturbances about the jet core grow with downstream distance before saturating and decaying, while the symmetric disturbances appear nearly negligible. It is suggested that this saturation and decay is due to linear effects (e.g. a negative spatial growth rate), rather than nonlinear interactions.