Sikorsky Aircraft’s X2 technology demonstrator achieved a forward speed of 181 knots on a test flight today at the Sikorsky Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Fla. The contra-rotating coaxial rotor prototype is designed to demonstrate that a helicopter can cruise at up to 250 knots while retaining excellent low-speed handling and efficient hovering characteristics, as well as a seamless and simple transition to high speed.
Cutting-edge research takes an enormous amount of time and while the BA609 tiltrotor still shows signs of life, it may end up a solely AgustaWestland project. Sikorsky’s X2 compound helicopter hasn’t broken any speed records, yet, but it remains a fascinating program.
The ongoing worldwide need for helicopters of all types that serve diverse industry and government segments is helping keep manufacturers like Rolls-Royce busy. Current Rolls-Royce engine programs include the RR500 turboshaft and turboprop, the already certified RR300 and the venerable M250. The LHTEC T800 partnership with Honeywell also remains active, with four first flights last year.
The Light Helicopter Turbine Engine Company (LHTec), a joint venture between Honeywell and Rolls-Royce, has entered into a 10-year agreement with Aerospace Products International under which API will be the exclusive distributor of CTS800 spare parts globally.
While others in the aviation industry were hunkering down for a terrible year in 2009, Aerospace Products International (API) added to its portfolio by developing exclusive logistics and distribution programs with Cirrus Aircraft and LHTEC (Light Helicopter Turbine Engine Co.), a joint venture between Honeywell and Rolls-Royce.
The Light Helicopter Turbine Engine Company (LHTec), a joint venture between Honeywell and Rolls-Royce, has signed a 10-year agreement with Aerospace Products International naming API the exclusive distributor of CTS800 parts globally.
Honeywell Engines comes to Heli-Expo with five turboshaft models ranging in age from venerable to brand-new and in power from 1,000 shp to 5,000.
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.
Sikorsky’s X2 technology dem-onstrator could fly by year-end, according to Peter Grant, Sikorsky’s director of advanced programs. The X2 is a coaxial rigid-rotor compound helicopter designed to achieve forward speeds up to 250 knots, and at that clip it would become the world’s fastest helicopter. The current helicopter speed record of 217 knots (set by a Westland Lynx) has stood for more than 20 years.
Although Turkey announced its selection of the AgustaWestland A129 for its tactical reconnaissance and attack helicopter program in March, it took until September 7 to finalize a contract whereby the Anglo-Italian rotorcraft maker will participate in Turkey’s ATAK program in partnership with prime contractor Tusas Aerospace Industries (TAI).
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