Sikorsky Aircraft’s X2 Technology Brakes Rotorcraft Speed Record


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Sikorsky Aircraft’s X2 Technology Brakes Rotorcraft Speed Record

Bill Goldston

July 27, 2010 - Sikorsky Aircraft’s X2 Technology demonstrator on Monday unofficially broke the speed record for rotorcraft, achieving a maximum speed of 225 knots in a one-hour test flight at the Development Flight Center.  

X2 Technology demonstrator Chief Pilot Kevin Bredenbeck executed the successful record-breaking test flight. The previous record for a 3,500 kg class of rotorcraft – 216 knots – was set by a Westland Lynx in the mid-1980’s. 

“The X2 Technology demonstrator’s latest flight is continuing to push the speed envelope, successfully flying approximately 50 knots faster than a traditional helicopter,” said Jim Kagdis, Program Manager, Advanced Programs.


“Vibration levels and aircraft performance have continued to meet or exceed our expectations, so we are pleased to report that all systems are ‘go’ in our mission to achieve a 250-knot cruise speed later this year.” 

In the demonstrator’s previous flight, a new tail configuration was incorporated to decrease pilot workload as the aircraft speed is increased, improving the overall aircraft handling qualities. 

Mark Miller, Sikorsky Vice President of Research & Engineering, said, “The X2 Technology program is one of our Sikorsky Innovations initiatives to develop and mature the technologies, products and processes that will redefine the future of vertical flight. With each successful test flight, the X2 Technology demonstrator is carrying this forward and writing a new page in aviation history.” 

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 X2 Technology program began in 2005 when Sikorsky first committed resources and full funding for the program’s development. Among the innovative technologies the X2 Technology demonstrator employs are fly-by-wire flight controls, counter-rotating rigid rotor blades, hub drag reduction, active vibration control and integrated auxiliary propulsion system. 

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture, and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.


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