DH - Defence Helicopter

New GENTEX Helmet Designed for Sikorsky X2 TECHNOLOGY Demonstrator

22nd October 2008 - 12:10 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The historic first flight of Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.’s X2 TECHNOLOGY Demonstrator featured the use of a helmet crafted by GENTEX especially for the X2 Demonstrator. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX).

GENTEX developed four helmets, unique to the X2 TECHNOLOGY program. They were specifically designed using the Modular Aircrew Common Helmet (MACH) as a baseline. The helmets offer impact protection of a traditional helicopter helmet, with windblast protection of a fixed-wing helmet.

“This is the first opportunity to fly this configuration of the MACH helmet,” said Barry Shope, Vice President, GENTEX Market Development. “GENTEX is pleased to be part of this project allowing us to further solidify our relationship with Sikorsky while demonstrating some of the unique characteristics of this helmet.”

Sikorsky Chief Test Pilot Kevin Bredenbeck wore the GENTEX helmet on Aug. 27 when he conducted the first test flight of the X2 TECHNOLOGY Demonstrator. The Demonstrator aircraft’s suite of technologies is intended to advance the state-of-the-art, counter-rotating coaxial rotor helicopter.

The MACH helmet system is a two-part concept consisting of an inner “Life Support Module” (LSM) and “Outer Mission Module” (OMM), in which each pilot will be issued a custom-fitted LSM compatible with existing aircrew oxygen masks while the Outer Mission Modules will be configured to accommodate all current and future helmet-mounted equipment and displays. GENTEX is working to reduce the current inventory of 27 helmets and helmet configurations to a single design.

The X2 TECHNOLOGY Demonstrator is designed to establish that a helicopter can cruise comfortably at 250 knots, while retaining such desirable helicopter attributes as excellent low speed handling, efficient hovering, and safe autorotation, combined with a seamless and simple transition to high speed.

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