ELMIRA, N.Y., Nov. 4 -- A surrogate helicopter equipped with the new X2 Technology fly-by-wire system made its first flight here yesterday, a key milestone in Sikorsky Aircraft's development of its X2 Technology demonstrator rotorcraft. Sikorsky is part of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX).
The Schweizer 333(TM) helicopter performed flawlessly while demonstrating basic capabilities of the X2 Technology fly-by-wire system during a one half hour flight at Schweizer Aircraft's facility. Sikorsky is building and plans to fly an X2 Technology demonstrator in 2006.
"The X2 Technology demonstrator program continues to advance on plan toward first flight before the end of 2006. The Schweizer 333 fly-by-wire flight today provides just one indication of the excellent progress the team has made this year," said Carey Bond, Vice President Corporate Strategy and Advanced Programs.
In April, Sikorsky announced plans to build and test a demonstrator for a new class of coaxial X2 Technology helicopters that improve the vertical flight capabilities of rotorcraft and whose high speed configuration will cruise at 250 knots.
Schweizer is a Sikorsky subsidiary and was selected to build the demonstrator because of its rapid prototyping capability. Sikorsky established a fly-by-wire integration lab and is using a Schweizer 333 as the system's initial surrogate test vehicle.
The X2 Technology demonstrator will employ a fly-by-wire system with advanced control laws that integrates the main rotor, aft propulsor and engine to meet commands from the cockpit.
Hamilton Sundstrand (also part of UTC) is working closely with Sikorsky on the X2 Technology demonstrator program by modifying and providing the Data Concentrator Units. The Central Processing Units are supplied by Honeywell.
X2 Technology(TM) refers to a suite of technologies Sikorsky will apply to achieve new levels of speed and performance in coaxial helicopters. Coaxial helicopters feature two counter-rotating rotors on the same vertical axis.
X2 Technology aircraft will hover, land vertically, maneuver at low speeds, and transition seamlessly from hover to forward flight like a helicopter. In a high speed configuration, one or more "pusher props" are part of an integrated auxiliary propulsion system to enable high speeds with no need to physically reconfigure the aircraft in flight.
In addition to Hamilton Sundstrand, major equipment providers for the X2 Technology demonstrator are LHTEC for the engine, Eagle Aviation for rotor blade manufacture, and Chelton Flight Systems for the cockpit display.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacturing and service. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX), of Hartford, Conn., which provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.