Sikorsky X2 Achieves Flight with Full Propulsor

 - July 7, 2009, 11:56 AM

Sikorsky’s X2 compound helicopter reached another milestone last week by completing two test flights that included full engagement of the high-speed tail propulsor for the first time. In one hour of testing conducted in the two flights last Tuesday, the aircraft flew at speeds reaching 52 knots in one test and 42 knots with the propeller providing forward thrust in the second flight. The demonstrator aircraft is designed to reach 250 knots, about twice as fast as current helicopters. Sikorsky chief test pilot Kevin Bredenbeck, who was at the controls during these two flights, said, “The aircraft completed a series of accelerations and decelerations from hover to 52 knots. The stability augmentation system operated as designed, and vibration and noise levels were very low.” According to Sikorsky, the X2 demonstrator has so far logged more than three flight hours at the company’s Horseheads, N.Y. facility. It made its first flight in August last year, though using only its contra-rotating coaxial rotors; the propulsor has been undergoing ground testing since January 23. The aircraft will relocate to the company’s flight-test center in West Palm Beach, Fla., by month’s end for continued test flights leading up to the 250-knot goal.