First Flight For Sikorsky X2 Prototype

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Sikorsky flew its X2 technology demonstrator for the first time on Wednesday, from its facility in Horseheads, N.Y. The X2 is intended to advance the state-of-the-art for counter-rotating coaxial rotor helicopters, the company said, and establish that a helicopter can cruise at 250 knots while retaining excellent low-speed handling, efficient hovering, safe autorotation, and easy transition to high speed. The prototype has been in development for four years. The 30-minute flight included maneuvers such as hover, forward flight, and a hover turn.

"We look forward to expanding the flight envelope for this demonstrator and will continue to conduct market analysis to determine the next steps for this important program," said James Kagdis, manager of advanced programs. Sikorsky President Jeffrey Pino said the X2 is far from being a product, "but closer than ever to realizing the potential."

Among the new technologies being tested on the X2 are fly-by-wire flight controls, counter-rotating all-composite rigid rotor blades, hub drag reduction, active vibration control, and an integrated auxiliary propulsion system. The X2 project is funded solely by Sikorsky.