The X3 compound helicopter demonstrator is to resume flights this month. Data analysis from the first two flight-test campaigns has prompted new questions, chief technology officer Jean-Michel Billig told AIN, and the launch of a third test campaign has been scheduled. The testing will explore the behavior of the main rotor at high speed. Some other goals relate to the Fadec and the link between rotor rpm and aircraft speed.
Scott’s-Bell 47 (Booth No. 5309) will launch a Model 47 upgrade program here at Heli-Expo and is also developing composite replacement main rotor blades with IAC Ltd.
The upgrade gives customers the choice of having their existing Model 47 refurbished or purchasing a completed refurbished/upgraded 47G-2A (narrow body) or 47G-2A-1 directly from Scott’s.
The program covers all Lycoming-powered 47G helicopters. Included are new main rotor blades as well as a new instrument panel, new interior and Texas Helicopter STCs, such as No-Bar, Sprag, and Muffler.
Sikorsky has selected GE Aviation (Booth No. 1217) to provide the GE YT706-GE-700R engines and engineering support for Sikorsky’s S-97 Raider program. The Raider is the military version of the experimental X2, a single-engine rotorcraft with coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and a pusher propeller. The Fadec-controlled GE engine offers 2,500 to 3,000 shp and is based on the GE700/CT7 family. GE said it developed the GE3000 for medium-lift applications and this engine could be incorporated into the Raider in the future.
Yesterday the FAA issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive (2012-02-51) that mandates the immediate replacement of main rotor blades on 697 Bell 206L, L-1, L-3 and L-4 helicopters after 1,400 hours, as opposed to the current 3,600-hour time in service limit, due to concerns about fatigue cracking. Special flight permits are prohibited under this EAD, effectively grounding hundreds of helicopters.
Eurocopter announced today that its 2011 revenues reached a record €5.4 billion ($7 billion), a 12-percent increase over the previous year. However, deliveries totaled 503 helicopters, short of the 527 handed over in 2010.
Last year, the manufacturer received net orders for 457 rotorcraft, prompting CEO Lutz Bertling to declare that the helicopter market has now recovered. He emphasized the low number of cancellations last year–only 15.
Sikorsky is now anticipating FAA certification of the S-434 light single for early next year, slightly later than the previous target date, which was this month. An improved Schweizer S-333, the S-434 sports a four-blade rotor, a new tail-rotor blade design, a structurally enhanced landing gear, a new trim system and an improved Kaflex driveshaft. The main rotor and its transmission come from the unmanned Fire Scout. The S-434 and the S-333 use the same Rolls-Royce 205-C20W turboshaft, which provides 320 shp.
Sikorsky announced yesterday that the third prototype of the S-76D medium-twin helicopter joined the test fleet, having made its first flight probably in July or August, AIN understands. Sikorsky had planned to reach this milestone early this year. “D3” will be used for avionics and electrical system certification.
Sikorsky’s X2 technology demonstrator, a high-speed semi-compound helicopter, flew for the last time on July 14 at the company’s West Palm Beach, Fla. test center, in front of a number of the manufacturer’s military and commercial customers. The sortie took place without the central hub fairing (also known as an “aero sail”), which will not be tested in flight.
Sikorsky flew its X2 technology demonstrator for the last time at its West Palm Beach, Fla. test center last week in front of some of the company’s military and commercial customers. Contrary to previously announced plans, the semi-compound helicopter, which features two contra-rotating main rotors and a pusher propeller, flew without its central hub fairing.
Sikorsky Innovations has completed wind-tunnel testing of an active rotor system equipped with “high-authority” flaps, paving the way for what it says will be improvements in noise, vibration–and, marginally, efficiency–on future rotorcraft.