Sikorsky's X2 relocates to Florida to prepare for high-speed test flights
Aiming to achieve the highest speed ever recorded for a helicopter, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.’s X2 Technology demonstrator has relocated to the company’s Florida flight facility as it begins the next phases of testing in the experimental program.
The X2 Technology demonstrator combines an integrated suite of technologies intended to advance the state-of-the-art, counter-rotating coaxial rotor helicopter. It is designed to demonstrate a helicopter can cruise comfortably at 250 knots while retaining such desirable attributes as excellent low speed handling, efficient hovering, and a seamless and simple transition to high speed.
For the past three years, the X2 Technology demonstrator program has been located at the Sikorsky Global Helicopters operation in Horseheads, New York, where the demonstrator achieved first flight last year.
"The move to Sikorsky’s West Palm Beach facility signifies a major turning point in this program as we have officially concluded Phase One testing,” said Jim Kagdis, Program Manager, Sikorsky Advanced Programs.
“Now we will fully test the integrated system to include the coaxial main rotor dynamic system with pusher propeller, and we’ll look to validate the key performance parameters of high speed, low noise, low vibration and low pilot workload. We have a lot of work ahead of us, and the Florida facility will provide ample room and a climate that will serve this program well as it moves toward the 250-knot milestone,” Kagdis said.
In 2005, Sikorsky began to commit resources and full funding for X2 Technology program development.
“The program has executed according to plan. With the move to West Palm Beach, we will continue to work with our customers and share with them this exciting, innovative technology to see if we can meet their future commercial or military needs,” said Mark Miller, Sikorsky Vice President of Research & Engineering.
Among the innovative technologies the X2 Technology demonstrator employs are:
• Fly-by-wire flight controls
• Counter-rotating rigid rotor blades
• Hub drag reduction
• Active vibration control
• Integrated auxiliary propulsion system
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