Sikorsky Aircraft announced the X2 project just over five years ago at the 2005 Paris Air Show. Now the one and only example of what the helicopter maker calls a “technology demonstrator” is poised to break the record as the world’s fastest rotorcraft as it works its way toward a target speed of 250 knots and further proof of concept.
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.
Both product support and research and development have taken hits in the helicopter industry as cash flow and current sales shrink, while future orders are clouded by important changes and growing uncertainty in key customer sectors.
Sikorsky’s X2 compound helicopter reached another milestone last month by completing two test flights that included full engagement of the high-speed tail propulsor for the first time. In one hour of testing conducted during the two flights, the aircraft flew at speeds up to 52 knots in one test and 42 knots with the propeller providing forward thrust in the second flight.
Sikorsky’s X2 compound helicopter reached another milestone last week by completing two test flights that included full engagement of the high-speed tail propulsor for the first time. In one hour of testing conducted in the two flights last Tuesday, the aircraft flew at speeds reaching 52 knots in one test and 42 knots with the propeller providing forward thrust in the second flight.
Last month Sikorsky displayed a mock-up of a possible X2 Light Tactical Helicopter
(LTH) design at the Army Aviation Association of America annual convention. The mockup reflects Sikorsky’s military concept for the X2 compound helicopter research vehicle, currently in flight test. Sikorsky hopes to set a new helicopter speed record
Sikorsky Aircraft has completed the first round of flight tests of the new X2 demonstrator and is on target to reach 250 knots by year-end, according to Jim Kagdis, Sikorsky’s manager of advanced programs.
Sikorsky’s futuristic X2 is up and flying, but it could be a decade before the technology is applied commercially, according to program manager Jim Kagdis.
At a small airfield near Horseheads, N.Y., Sikorsky is slowly expanding the flight envelope of its X2 technology demonstrator. After a first flight at the end of August, the coaxial rotor helicopter is currently midway through the first of four flight-test phases that should enable it to reach a forward speed of 250 knots by the middle of next year.