Sikorsky Chief Test Pilot Kevin Bredenbeck has received the prestigious Iven C. Kincheloe Award from the Society of Experimental Test Pilots for breaking the unofficial speed record for helicopters in the X2. The X2 was on display during AOPA Aviation Summit in Hartford, Conn., and is now on a victory lap (by truck) around the nation before entering the National Air and Space Museum.
Bredenbeck accepted the award Sept. 24. He was included in an AOPA Pilot article, “ Swamp pirates,” in the October issue.
“It’s hard to believe what has transpired over the last few years, focusing on the task at hand, holding a team together and pushing the envelope of an ‘X’ plane,” Bredenbeck said in collecting the award. “I got to lead a great team and would never have been able to demonstrate the capabilities of this X2 technology without them. I’m even prouder that this team delivered to the doorstep of the future the next generation potential for rotor winged flight.”
The Kincheloe award was established in 1958 and has been awarded to NASA astronauts, which Bredenbeck set as his original career goal. Few realize that while the X2 set a new record of 253 knots true airspeed, it was capable of more than 280 knots.