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Sikorsky continues to next stage of CH-53K testing

2nd May 2014 - 12:49 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


The CH-53K heavy lift helicopter programme continues to progress, with the aircraft’s seven main rotor blades and four tail rotor blades attached for the first time to a non-flying prototype called the Ground Test Vehicle (GTV).

The GTV will now commence on a two year test programme of the rotor blades, transmission, engines, and all subsystems while the GTV is anchored to the ground. First up is powered ‘Light-Off’ testing with rotor blades spinning.

The GTV will allow ground tests and operational experience to begin accumulating ahead of the four flight test aircraft entering the testing programme. The GTV can measure and verify the ability of the drive system, transmissions and engines to fly the CH-53K helicopter safely and efficiently across multiple flight scenarios up to its 88,000-pound (39,916 kg) maximum gross weight with an external load.

Mike Torok, CH-53K program vice president, Sikorsky, said: ‘This is another key milestone in our building block approach to maturing the aircraft system.

‘The aircraft is now fully configured to proceed to the next series of system integration tests that will further validate the aircraft systems, such as rotors, drive, electrical, hydraulic, avionics and flight controls - all leading to operational acceptance testing that will clear the flight aircraft for flight operations. The preliminary results maintain our confidence in meeting first flight of the initial flight test helicopter in late 2014.’

The first of the four flight test helicopters -- known as Engineering Development Models -- is scheduled to take to the skies in late 2014. During the three-year flight test programme, each flight test aircraft is expected to accumulate approximately 500 flight test hours. To ensure safety of flight, the GTV will continue to accumulate hundreds of operational endurance hours ahead of the flight aircraft.

The Shephard News Team


The Shephard News Team

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