Sikorsky’s coaxial X2 Demonstrator
may have taken its last flight
, but the rotorcraft’s design will serve as the basis for a new aircraft proposed by Sikorsky and Boeing. The companies will submit a joint proposal to build the new aircraft for Phase 1 of the U.S. Army’s Joint Multi-Role (JMR) Technology Demonstrator (TD) program that aims to deliver the next generation of vertical lift utility and attack aircraft.
Sikorsky’s X2 Technology Demonstrator that first took to the air on August 27, 2008
has flown for the last time. The 23rd and final flight was conducted in the early morning of July 14, 2011 from Sikorsky’s new Innovations Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. In flight tests carried out over the three-year period, the X2 flew a total of around 22 hours and on September 15, 2010
achieved a maximum cruise speed of 253 knots in level flight – an unofficial record for a conventional helicopter. While the X2 is now officially entering retirement, the lessons learned and technologies developed for the X2 program will pave the way for Sikorsky’s S-97 Raider helicopter.
Sikorsky Aircraft’s coaxial X2 Technology demonstrator has achieved the 250-knot (287.69 mph) milestone that was established as the goal of the craft from its inception. The speed, which was achieved in level flight during a 1.1-hour flight on Wednesday, September 15, is an unofficial speed record for a helicopter, easily beating the current official world record that stands at 216.46 knots (249.1 mph) set by the British built Westland Lynx ZB-500 in 1986.
Sikorsky Aircraft’s goal of producing the fastest helicopter ever built has taken another step towards becoming a reality. Its coaxial X2 Technology demonstrator
has achieved a speed of 181 knots (208 mph) in a test flight – faster than the 160-170 knot speeds generally possible with conventional helicopters and edging closer to the eventual aim of delivering 250 knot (288 mph) cruising speeds.
August 28, 2008 Three years ago we wrote
of Sikorsky’s intention to build a technology demonstrator for its X2 Coaxial helicopter technology, and earlier this year we expanded on the principals of the revolutionary aircraft
. Today, we’re pleased to announce “it flies.” Earlier this week, Sikorsky successfully completed the first flight of its X2 Demonstrator, maneuvering the prototype aircraft through hover, forward flight, and a hover turn, in a test flight that lasted approximately 30 minutes.
June 2, 2008 Helicopter
development is hampered by the fact that for so long it has been a zero sum game, with designers only able to improve forward speed at the expense of hovering ability and low speed control, and vice versa. This, combined with other inherent design restrictions, has kept the top cruise speed for conventional helicopters at roughly 150—170 knots. Looking to overcome these limitations, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. is working on a coaxial design aimed at realizing a cruising speed of 250 knots. The X2 technology demonstrator can hover, land vertically, manoeuvre at low speeds, and transition seamlessly from hovering to forward flight. In the words of Sikorsky’s president, Jeffrey Pino, it could prove to be a real ‘game changer’ for the industry.
June 6, 2005 Sikorsky Aircraft today announced plans to build and test a demonstrator for a new class of coaxial X2 Technology helicopters that maintain or improve on all the vertical flight capabilities of rotorcraft and whose high speed configuration will cruise at 250 knots. The X2 demonstrator will feature a coaxial design (two rotors on the same axis) and a 'pusher prop' to supply auxiliary propulsion that will enable the aircraft to reach high speeds of 250 knots per hour. Sikorsky plans to build and fly its X2 Technology demonstrator helicopter at its Schweizer Aircraft subsidiary by the end of 2006. Preliminary design work for the demonstrator is finished and parts fabrication for the aircraft has commenced.