Sikorsky is readying its X2 compound helicopter demonstrator for first flight in late 2007 or early 2008, the U.S. manufacturer announced here at the Paris Air Show. The hybrid design, which looks like a helicopter with two contrarotating coaxial main rotors and one tail propulsor, already had its fly-by-wire system tested in a small Schweizer 333 helicopter. The actual X2 has undergone engine and drive train ground tests.
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.
Schweizer will deliver its milestone 6,000th aircraft to Helicopter Adventures here at Heli-Expo today. The Model 300CBi is on display in the Schweizer static exhibit (No. 36). More than 1,000 of the 6,000 aircraft built at the company’s factory on the Elmira-Corning Regional Airport have been helicopters. The balance includes sailplanes, agricultural airplanes, special-purpose fixed-wing and unmanned vehicles.
According to Schweizer Aircraft president Paul Schweizer, business has never been better. Incorporated into the United Technologies (UTC) conglomerate as a subsidiary of Sikorsky Aircraft in 2004, Schweizer is now enjoying unprecedented sales and revenue growth, resulting in increased production of its piston and turbine helicopter models.
Paul Schweizer seems to have taken well to his unfamiliar role as an employee. Some five months after Sikorsky bought his company, Schweizer joked about having to answer to a boss for the first time in 22 years, but he seemed liberated by the prospect of tackling a backlog that had grown too big for his little company to handle.
Schweizer Aircraft of Elmira, N.Y., a subsidiary of Sikorsky Aircraft, announced here at Heli-Expo it had recently signed a contract with Caseright Aviation of the UK for 10 new Schweizer 300CBi piston helicopters. Deliveries are to begin early next year.
Schweizer has won FAA certification for an increased takeoff horsepower rating on its Model 333. The maximum five-minute takeoff power limit is now raised from 252 shp to 280 shp.
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.
By this time next year Sikorsky may be in a position to challenge the number one spot in commercial helicopter deliveries based on total revenue. That was the optimistic message from Jeff Pino, senior vice president, corporate strategy, marketing and commercial programs, at a Heli-Expo press conference yesterday.