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Thursday, September 16, 2010

X2: 250-Knot Target Realized

Sikorsky's X2 technology demonstrator reached a major milestone Wednesday in flying at 250 knots true airspeed.

By Andrew Parker, Managing Editor

With its primary key performance parameter (KPP) of hitting 250 knots (288 mph) achieved yesterday, Sikorsky’s X2 team is turning its focus to additional test flights over the course of the next three months before wrapping up the demonstration phase for the coaxial helicopter. During a conference call with reporters this morning, Jim Kagdis, program manager for Sikorsky’s Advanced Programs division, explained that the manufacturer wants to “round out and make sure we can also claim that we have achieved those other KPPs.” Looking forward, he continued, “we have probably about four more flights. There are two acoustic flights that we want to reap the data from, and then also, the aircraft is fully configured now for its highest speeds except for the [de-rotation] sail fairing in our rotor system. When we integrate the sail fairing, there will probably be two additional flights.” After those tests are complete, Kagdis added, “we will declare success, we will have the data that we desired and needed, and we will re-target our focus—the demonstrator has successfully performed its mission, now how are we going to take this data and technology that we developed and apply it to future concepts.” According to Sikorsky, a military configuration of the X2 will reach initial operating capability (IOC) “in the 2020 timeframe.” Also on Thursday’s call were Kevin Bredenbeck, director of flight operations and chief pilot; Steve Weiner, director of engineering sciences and chief engineer for the X2; and Steve Cizewski, X2 program manager.
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