WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.’s X2 Technology™ demonstrator today successfully achieved a speed of 250 knots true air speed in level flight at the Sikorsky Development Flight Center, accomplishing the program’s ultimate speed milestone. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX).
The speed, reached during a 1.1-hour flight, is an unofficial speed record for a helicopter. The demonstrator also reached 260 knots in a very shallow dive during the flight.
“The aerospace industry today has a new horizon,” said Sikorsky President Jeffrey P. Pino. “The X2 Technology demonstrator continues to prove its potential as a game-changer, and Sikorsky Aircraft is proud to be advancing this innovative technology and to continue our company’s pioneering legacy.”
“Our primary key performance parameter has been met,” said Jim Kagdis, Program Manager for Sikorsky Advanced Programs. “The 250-knot milestone was established as the goal of the demonstrator from its inception. It’s exciting to imagine how our customers will use this capability.”
Kevin Bredenbeck, Sikorsky’s Director of Flight Operations and Chief Pilot for the company and for its X2 Technology program, manned the milestone flight. Bredenbeck said the demonstrator has been performing well, meeting expectations of performance predictions and progressing with every test flight.
“I’m proud of what the X2 Technology team has accomplished,” Bredenbeck said. “This was truly a collaborative effort that demanded a tremendous sacrifice from the full team. This dedication enabled the demonstrator to hit this historically high mark.”
The X2 Technology demonstrator combines an integrated suite of technologies intended to advance the state-of-the-art, counter-rotating coaxial rotor helicopter. It is designed to demonstrate that a helicopter can cruise comfortably at 250 knots while retaining such desirable attributes as excellent low-speed handling, efficient hovering, and a seamless and simple transition to high speed.
The X2 Technology program began in 2005 when Sikorsky first committed resources and full funding for the program’s development.
Mark Miller, Sikorsky Vice President of Research & Engineering, said: “The X2 Technology program is an initiative of our Sikorsky Innovations team, and today it offers a clear and exciting validation of our ability to take on the toughest challenges in vertical flight.”
Among the innovative technologies the X2 Technology demonstrator employs are:
- Fly-by-wire flight controls
- Counter-rotating rigid rotor blades
- Hub drag reduction
- Active vibration control
- Integrated auxiliary propulsion system
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture, and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.