At a small airfield near Horseheads, N.Y., Sikorsky is slowly expanding the flight envelope of its X2 technology demonstrator. After a first flight at the end of August, the coaxial rotor helicopter is currently midway through the first of four flight-test phases that should enable it to reach a forward speed of 250 knots by the middle of next year.
As the month of May came to a close, a team of Boeing engineers were putting the finishing touches to a one-of-a-kind flying machine at an outpost of that company’s “Phantom Works” just outside the sun- and sand-blasted southwestern Arizona town of Yuma.
The AN-1 AeroQuad produced in Spain by Aeris Naviter Aeronautical Technologies is on display in the light aircraft static park. The latest in a long line of attempts to produce an easy-to-fly platform that requires minimal training, it comprises a coaxial rotor configuration above which the operator stands to control the vehicle.
Sikorsky Aircraft yesterday disclosed at the American Helicopter Society International annual technical forum in Grapevine, Texas, plans to build and test a demonstrator for a new class of coaxial helicopters that will have improved vertical flight capabilities and will cruise at 250 knots. The Stratford, Conn.
United Technologies subsidiary Sikorsky Aircraft announced at the American Helicopter Society annual forum earlier this month that it plans to build an experimental helicopter using a coaxial main rotor system that it says will achieve cruise speeds well above that of conventional helicopters. Coaxial helicopters have two counterrotating rotors on the same vertical axis.
At last month’s American Helicopter Society forum in Grapevine, Texas, several OEMs unveiled entirely new projects or reported major progress on projects under development. Two of those new projects are based on original designs that first flew more than 50 years ago. Of particular interest, given recent history, is that all but one of the designs are the result of American research and development.
AgustaWestland A109S Grand
The order book for this uprated 109 variant currently stands at almost 60. AgustaWestland received EASA approval for the type in June (as its first customer, a Briton, took delivery) and FAA certification is expected by next month. The company planned to have delivered five airframes by press time and 10 more later this year.
Having flown more than 32,000 hours to date on the Kamov Ka-32, British Columbia, Canada-based Vancouver Island Helicopters (VIH) Logging can claim the title of the world’s most experienced commercial operator of the Russian twin. Since taking delivery of two Ka-32s in 1997, it has added another to its fleet and uses them primarily on logging and construction contracts at sites remote from its base.