The Palm Beach Post reports Sikorsky Aircraft will soon move its experimental X2 helicopter prototype to the company’s flight center near West Palm Beach, Fla., for further trials. Currently the aircraft is located at the Sikorsky-Schweizer Hawk Works near Elmira, N.Y.
The Sikorsky Aircraft Development Flight Center has provided an economic boom to the Palm Beach region. According to General Manager Pete Ladyko, “As many aerospace companies laid off workers in 2008, the center actually increased its ranks by 365 workers, to a total head count of 878.”
One of the center’s current projects is performing final assembly on the latest derivative of the UH-60 Black Hawk.
The center will soon house the Sikorsky X2 technology demonstrator, which incorporates several new technologies and can demonstrate them in a flight environment. These technologies include an integrated fly-by-wire system that allows the engine, dual counter rotating coaxial rotors, and pusher propeller system to operate efficiently. Additionally, the X2 is equipped with high lift-to-drag rigid blades, low drag hub fairings, and active vibration control.
In West Palm Beach, Sikorsky plans to engage the X2’s pusher propeller for the first time in flight. Once that system is operational, the company plans to set a new speed record for rotorcraft. The current record is 249 knots held by an AgustaWestland Lynx.