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.
Sikorsky has nearly finished building its X2 coaxial compound helicopter demonstrator in Elmira, N.Y. According to Jim Kagdis, Sikorsky’s manager of advanced programs, additional ground tests are needed, but first flight is “within arm’s reach.” He declined to provide a specific time period.
Thirty-eight months after Sikorsky’s formal announcement of the X2 “technology demonstrator,” the compound helicopter made its first flight yesterday at the Sikorsky-Schweizer rapid prototyping facility in Horseheads, N.Y. During the 30-minute flight, Sikorsky chief test pilot Kevin Bredenbeck conducted slow forward flight, hover and hover turn maneuvers.
Helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky (Hall 4 Stand F14) has nearly finished building its X2 coaxial compound helicopter demonstrator in Elmira, New York. Although additional ground tests are needed there, first flight is “within arm’s reach,” according to Jim Kagdis, Sikorsky’s manager of advanced programs. He would not commit to a specific time period, however. The X2 program is entirely funded by Sikorsky.
Sikorsky continues to inch toward flying its X2 technology demonstrator coaxial compound helicopter for the first time at its R&D and test facility in Horseheads, N.Y. At press time, the X2 had made three separate “blades-on” ground runs, with a cumulative engine run time of 30 minutes. Data analyzed during the ground run includes the performance of the X2’s belly-mounted active vibration control system.
Sikorsky continues to inch toward flying its X2 technology demonstrator coaxial-compound helicopter for the first time at its R&D and test facility in Horseheads, N.Y. Through the middle of this month, the X2 had made three separate “blades-on” ground runs, with a cumulative engine run time of 30 minutes. The ground runs are conducted with the engine on and rotors spinning.
It wasn’t just the great Texas barbeque that put smiles on the faces of Heli-Expo visitors. A hot market for helicopters ensured that the show’s first trip to Houston would go down a record-setter.
Sikorsky Aircraft yesterday unveiled its X2 technology demonstrator here at Heli-Expo, with hordes of attendees surrounding the black-shrouded helicopter before it was revealed in a cloud of smoke and lights at the company’s booth (No. 1641). What emerged was a sleek-looking, two-pilot ship with a contra-rotating coaxial main rotor and an “aero propeller” in place of the tail rotor.
Sikorsky’s growth in the last four years has been astronomical. Since 2003 the company has doubled its revenue to almost $5 billion thanks to a succession of orders that have come pouring in from military and civil buyers. The latest deal, announced in December, was for 537 Black Hawks for the Army and Navy. These helicopters will be delivered over the next five years as part of a contract worth $7.4 billion.
Sikorsky’s X2 technology dem-onstrator could fly by year-end, according to Peter Grant, Sikorsky’s director of advanced programs. The X2 is a coaxial rigid-rotor compound helicopter designed to achieve forward speeds up to 250 knots, and at that clip it would become the world’s fastest helicopter. The current helicopter speed record of 217 knots (set by a Westland Lynx) has stood for more than 20 years.