X2 picks up speed
The Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation's X2 Technology demonstrator achieved another milestone with the completion of two test flights that included full engagement of the distinctive propeller for the first time.
In one hour of testing conducted in two flights, the aircraft flew at speeds reaching 52 knots in one test and 42 knots with the propeller providing forward thrust in the second flight. The X2 Technology demonstrator is designed to reach speeds of 250 knots - or twice as fast as helicopters can travel today.
The demonstrator has accumulated more than three hours of successful flight time at Sikorsky's facility in Horseheads, N.Y. The aircraft will relocate to the company's Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Fla., before month-end for continued test flights leading up to the 250-knot speed record.
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 helicopter attributes as excellent low speed handling, efficient hovering and autorotation safety, and a seamless transition to high speed. Sikorsky is maturing this Technology in preparation for emerging missions including rapid air medical response for the civil market and reconnaissance, attack, and special operations missions for the military market.
"The program is progressing extremely well both technologically and from a future applicability standpoint," said Mark Miller, Vice President of Research and Engineering at Sikorsky.
"Certainly we've got much more to do, but interest continues to grow among both the military and commercial sectors in how this Technology might improve current operations and enable new missions that today are simply not possible with the current helicopter flight limitations. These are exciting times."
Kevin Bredenbeck, Chief Test Pilot for Sikorsky, accomplished the flights on June 30. "The aircraft completed a series of accelerations and decelerations from hover to 52 knots," he said. "The Stability Augmentation System operated as designed, and vibration and noise levels were very low."
Jim Kagdis, Program Manager, Sikorsky Advanced Programs, added that, "Each milestone achieved represents an important step as we continue to mature X2 Technology to meet our customers' future needs. X2 Technology offers significantly increased speed, maneuverability and agility, high/hot performance, low acoustics and low vibration, which all are very attractive features to meet future requirements."
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