Compound Sikorsky X2 Makes First Flight
Thirty-eight months after Sikorsky’s formal announcement of the X2 “technology demonstrator,” the compound helicopter made its first flight yesterday at the Sikorsky-Schweizer rapid prototyping facility in Horseheads, N.Y. During the 30-minute flight, Sikorsky chief test pilot Kevin Bredenbeck conducted slow forward flight, hover and hover turn maneuvers. The rear propulsor was not engaged during the inaugural flight, and the X2 reached a maximum forward speed of 20 knots, 10 to 15 knots sideways and 40 feet agl. More slow flight testing will be conducted at Horseheads before the X2 is transferred to Sikorsky’s larger West Palm Beach, Fla. flight-test facility. Sikorsky is self-financing the fly-by-wire X2 with an eye to deploying its key components in future manned and unmanned military helicopters. The X2 is designed to have a maximum forward speed of 250 to 265 knots. Power for the X2 comes from a single LHTEC–Light Helicopter Turbine Engine Company, a Rolls-Royce and Honeywell partnership–T800 turboshaft engine rated at up to 1,680 shp. The T800 drives the twin four-blade Eagle Aviation contra-rotating main rotors and the Aero Composites six-blade pusher propeller mounted at the end of the tailboom.