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Sikorsky X2 Helicopter To Set New Speed Record

Sikorsky X2 Helicopter To Set New Speed Record

Could the new X2 helicopter developed by Sikorsky become the fastest helicopter in the world?

The new Sikorsky X2 helicopter plans to break the world speed record for the fastest helicopter – a record set in 1986 by a Westland Lynx.

Sikorsky X2 Helicopter

Sikorsky X2 Helicopter

The X2 team has slowly been developing the performance of its high-speed chopper, which in recent tests reached speeds of 168 knots or (193 mph). The team soon hopes to shatter the current record of 216 knots (249 mph) by achieving its goal of flying the X2 at 250 knots (288 mph).

The X2 uses a coaxial main rotor system, eliminating the need for the tail rotor that typically counters the torque of a single main rotor. In place of a tail rotor, the X2 has a propeller at the back of the aircraft that generates thrust similar in a similar manner as a fixed-wing aircraft.

Jim Kagdis, who manages the advanced programs at Sikorsky, explained that by adjusting aerodynamics and increasing thrust from the pusher prop on the tail, there is still room for improvement:

“About 50 percent of the drag on the aircraft comes from the coaxial dynamic system. With fairings, we think we can cut that drag in half.”

Since last summer, the team has made several additions to help reduce drag, namely the blue fairings that cover the upper and lower rotor hubs seen in the pictures. Kagdis says a fairing in between the two rotors will be in place for the next phase, further reducing the drag.

Sikorsky X2 Helicopter

Sikorsky X2 Helicopter

Another goal during the next phase of testing will be to expand the use of the pusher prop to generate thrust and slow down the main rotors to reduce retreating blade stall.

If all goes to plan, Sikorsky hopes to fly its X2 helicopter to set a new world record by late summer or early fall.



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