Sikorsky, Eurocopter in Race To Exceed 250 Knots

 - June 30, 2011, 9:47 AM

They both deny it, but helicopter manufacturers Sikorsky and Eurocopter have clearly reignited the speed race between their respective semi-compound X2 and compound X3 demonstrators. The X2 will fly again this summer, this time with its full rotor hub fairing. Sikorsky officials last week said that the test will be oriented primarily toward understanding how the “aero sail” behaves in certain conditions. However, Sikorsky engineers had previously indicated that the fairing could add another 15 to 20 knots to the 250 knots the X2 attained in September. In January, Sikorsky told AIN that the company had no more plans to fly the X2 with its central hub fairing. Meanwhile, a Eurocopter senior executive last month said that the X3  team was planning to go beyond 232 knots after the Paris Air Show, where the aircraft was one of the highlights in the flying display. On May 12, the demonstrator reached 232 knots, according to the crew. Previously, the same Eurocopter senior executive stated that he was prohibiting the crew from engaging in a race against the X2.