Sikorsky flew its S-97 Raider rigid coaxial-rotor, high-speed helicopter for the first time May 22, completing a hover and low-speed flight at the company’s development flight center in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The aircraft is the first of two prototypes of the Raider light tactical helicopter being built under a $200 million industry effort funded by Sikorsky and its supplier partners. This follows the $50 million company-funded X2 Technology Demonstrator, which flew 23 times from 2008-11.
The Raider flew for 1 hr. instead of the 30 min. planned, says Mark Miller, vice president of research and engineering. It completed three takeoffs and landings: forward, rearward and sideward. The aircraft was flown by Raider chief pilot Bill Fell, with X2 test pilot Kevin Bredenbeck as co-pilot.
For the complete story by Graham Warwick of Aviation Week, click here.
Photo by Sikorsky