Sikorsky X2 Hits 250-knot Target, Setting New Record
The Sikorsky X2 technology demonstrator unofficially set a new speed record for rotorcraft yesterday, as it reached 250 ktas at the company’s development flight center in West Palm Beach, Fla. At the controls was chief test pilot Kevin Bredenbeck. The 250-knot speed was the program’s main objective since launch in 2005, and was attained in level flight during a 1.1-hour sortie. Sikorsky’s X2, which features contra-rotating coaxial main rotors and a pusher propeller, even reached 260 knots “in a very shallow dive,” the helicopter manufacturer added. The vibration level was similar to that of the Black Hawk military transport at its cruise speed of 140 knots, program officials told AIN. Pilot workload was on target, they said, thanks to the fly-by-wire control system. Noise levels on the ground will be measured during two upcoming flights. Another two flights will be conducted with a center hub fairing, which should boost speed by 15 knots.