Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sikorsky X2 breaks 250 kt to set new record

Sikorsky's X2 helicopter technology demonstrator achieved its stated goal of 250 kt true air speed in level flight at the Sikorsky development Flight Center in Florida on 15 September, the company has announced.

The speed, reached during a flight lasting just over one hour, is an unofficial speed record for a helicopter, surpassing the 216 kt achieved by a modified Westland Lynx in 1986. The X2 demonstrator also reached 260 kt in a very shallow dive during the flight, Sikorsky said.

The record-breaking flight has yet to be confirmed by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI): the body responsible for approving such feats.

With the primary performance key for the X2 now met, Jim Kagdis, programme manager for Sikorsky Advanced Programs, said that the demonstrator vehicle has about three months more of flight-testing to undertake. During this time, the company will fly the aircraft for four more tests to demonstrate that it has achieved the other key performance parameters of the programme, such as for noise, vibration, efficient hovering and safe autorotation.

Once flight-testing is complete, "we will declare success and we will have the information needed to then look out how we can take this information and technology and apply it to future concepts", Kagdis said.

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