Special Black Hawk Uses Fly-By-Wire Controls
Look Ma... no control linkages! Two days after the helicopter
the first flight of its X2 Technology Demonstrator
rotorcraft, Sikorsky said Friday it completed the
first flight of its UH-60M Upgrade Black Hawk helicopter...
currently the only fly-by-wire rotary wing aircraft in flight test
development within the Department of the Army.
In a test flight that lasted approximately 60 minutes, Sikorsky
Chief Test Pilots Mike Skaggs and Steve Silder maneuvered the
aircraft through a variety of exercises including hover, forward
flight, and a hover turn. The test flight was conducted at
Sikorsky’s West Palm Beach facility in Florida.
Sikorsky President Jeffrey P. Pino said Friday's milestone
represents a major step forward in the company’s continuing
efforts to provide the US military with superior technology.
"The UH-60M Upgrade will reduce pilot workload, increase lift,
offer better protection and enhance survivability," said Pino. "The
next generation of Black Hawk helicopters is ideally suited forits
mission and will provide a safer, more responsive, deployable,
versatile and effective weapon system for the Army."
US Army Col. L. Neil Thurgood, Utility Helicopter Project
Manager for the US PEO Aviation office, said, "Today's first flight
of the UH-60M Upgrade aircraft, with fly-by-wire technology
represents the next step in providing the US military the best
capability to execute its mission. This aircraft contains dramatic
technological advances, yet retains and improves on the proven
design of the world’s most capable and robust utility
The fly-by-wire system used on the
UH-60M Upgrade is similar to that used on the
X2, and incorporates "active stick" technology and dual
channel-triple redundant flight control computers.
Fly-by-wire flight control systems electronically link the
controls inside the cockpit with the exterior actuators, the
movement of which enable the aircraft to maneuver where and how the
pilot intends. Eliminating the traditional mechanical linkage saves
weight, reduces maintenance costs, adds capability and improves
The upgraded Black Hawk also sports a Rockwell Collins glass
cockpit with a Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS), as well
as fully authority digital engine control (FADEC) for the General
Electric T700-GE-701E engines.
In 2007, the Pentagon and US Army approved the full rate
production of 1,227 UH-60M aircraft and long lead procurement for
11 Upgrade LRIP aircraft. In June, the 4-101st Aviation Battalion
became the First Unit Equipped with the UH-60M baseline model of
The first delivery of approximately 900 UH-60M Upgrade aircraft
is planned for the fourth quarter of 2010.