Possibly the most avidly anticipated briefing of Heli-Expo 2009,
was the official Sikorsky update of the truly innovative X2
program. Just last year, Sikorsky proved that it's one incredibly
cool -- and equally unusual -- flying machine... and, it works!
Sikorsky successfully completed the first flight of its X2
Technology Demonstrator, in late August, maneuvering the prototype
aircraft through hover, forward flight, and a hover turn, in a test
flight that lasted approximately 30 minutes.
Sikorsky Chief Test Pilot Kevin Bredenbeck conducted the test
flight at Sikorsky’s Schweizer Aircraft Corp.
rapid-prototyping facility in Horseheads, NY, and was a headliner
at the HAI 2009 briefing before a packed house of rotornauts.
The first-flight milestone culminated more than four years of
design, development and testing of the Demonstrator
aircraft’s suite of technologies that are intended to advance
the state-of-the-art, counter-rotating coaxial rotor helicopter.
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.
Just last month, the program leaped ahead again as the X2
successfully ground tested the aircraft with the pusher propeller
installed and spinning for the first time. The test, conducted
January 23, used the fly-by-wire pitch control system with the
rotating, high-speed pusher propeller for the first time since the
demonstrator's first flight on August 27, 2008.
"The high-speed pusher prop produced the expected amount of
thrust and the testing went according to plan," said Steven
Cizewski, X2 Program Manager. "In addition, the pusher prop's drive
system and oil distribution system checked out well. In all, we are
pleased with this milestone and look forward to finishing the tests
in Elmira, NY as we prepare to move the demonstrator into its next
phase of testing in West Palm Beach."
Sikorsky Vice President of Research & Engineering Mark
Miller said, "This ground test milestone effectively completes
Phase I of the four-phase X2 Technology development test program.
We are looking forward to completing the remainder of the envelope
expansion phases, and achieving 250 knots at the completion of
Phase IV by the end of the year."
The X2 Technology demonstrator combines an integrated suite of
technologies intended to advance the state-of-the-art,
counter-rotating coaxial rotor helicopter. Sikorsky announced its
initiative to develop an integrated suite of technologies called X2
Technology in June 2005. The project is funded solely by