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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Rotorcraft Report: Piasecki SpeedHawk Starts Flight Tests

MILITARY

Piasecki Aircraft expects additional funding from the U.S. Army for its XH-49A SpeedHawk program following the first successful flights of the compound helicopter.

The Sikorsky Aircraft/U.S. Navy SH-60F, modified with wings and a tail-mounted vectored-thrust ducted propeller, took to the air for the first time June 29 at Boeing’s facility in Wilmington, Del., with Piasecki Chief Pilot Steve Schellburg at the controls and Rich Jackson in the co-pilot’s seat. Schellburg assessed the SpeedHawk’s control feel during the roughly 15-min flight, performing left and right pedal turns, then slow forward flight into a hover. He again did pedal turns, followed by left and right sideward flight, before returning to the takeoff point, hovering again, then landing. Top speed for the first flight was about 10 kt. "The aircraft performed as expected," said Piasecki vice president John Piasecki. "There are refinements we are making based on his input." The company plans a two-phase program for the SpeedHawk, which is being funded by the Army’s Aviation Applied Technology Directorate.

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