Posted by John McHale
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., 20 Sept. 2010. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.'s X2 Technology demonstrator 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. 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 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 aerospace industry today has a new horizon," says 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," says 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 flight. Bredenbeck says the demonstrator has been performing well, meeting expectations of performance predictions and progressing with every test flight. The X2 Technology program began in 2005 when Sikorsky first committed resources and full funding for the program's development.