Pilot - - Contents -

Siko­rsky Raider, Air­bus de­liv­er­ies, R-44 Cadets, and An­sat tests

The sec­ond pro­to­type Siko­rsky S-97 Raider − ‘Air­craft Two’ − has com­pleted its first flight, mark­ing the pro­gramme’s re­turn to flight test­ing fol­low­ing dam­age to the first pro­to­type last Au­gust.

The first Raider flew on 22 May 2015 but suf­fered a hard land­ing caused by ‘is­sues with the flight con­trol soft­ware’ as it per­formed a ver­ti­cal take­off dur­ing a flight test. The crew was un­hurt but the Raider was dam­aged to the ex­tent that Siko­rsky de­cided to re­sume the flight test pro­gramme with the sec­ond air­craft. At the time of the ac­ci­dent Siko­rsky was ex­pand­ing the Raider’s flight en­ve­lope, hav­ing recorded over 100 hours of ground runs and twenty hours of flighttest­ing. Dur­ing the ac­ci­dent flight the Raider had reached a max­i­mum speed of 180kt, and Siko­rsky had hoped that the fol­low­ing flight would have achieved its pre­dicted max­i­mum speed of over 220kt.

‘Air­craft Two’ first flew on 19 June, from Siko­rsky’s De­vel­op­ment Flight Cen­ter in West Palm Beach, Florida, USA. Pilots Bill Fell and John Groth ‘flew the com­plete flight test card and met all of the ob­jec­tives’ dur­ing the ninety-minute flight, the com­pany re­ported.

Siko­rsky is us­ing the Raider pro­gramme to de­velop tech­nol­ogy em­ployed in its X2 demon­stra­tor, such as its rigid coax­ial main ro­tors and a vari­able-pitch pusher pro­pel­ler, for a pos­si­ble Fu­ture Ver­ti­cal Lift light ap­pli­ca­tion for the US mil­i­tary. The Raider is also serv­ing as a ‘risk re­ducer’ for the larger SB-1 Defiant high­speed rigid ro­tor coax­ial craft that the com­pany is de­vel­op­ing with Boe­ing for the US Army’s Joint Multi-role Tech­nol­ogy Demon­stra­tor Pro­gram, in which it is com­pet­ing with the Bell V-280 Valor.

“This (first flight of ‘Air­craft Two’) is a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone, which al­lows us to pro­ceed with our full flight test pro­gramme to demon­strate how Siko­rsky’s X2 Tech­nol­ogy is rev­o­lu­tion­is­ing the fu­ture of ver­ti­cal lift,” said Dan Spoor, Vice-pres­i­dent, Siko­rsky Fu­ture Ver­ti­cal Lift. “We look for­ward to demon­strat­ing to the US mil­i­tary that high flight speed, and ex­tra­or­di­nary ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity in the hover and low speed regimes, will dra­mat­i­cally change the way that mil­i­tary avi­a­tors fly and fight with he­li­copters.”

Siko­rsky's sec­ond Raider S-97 has en­abled the com­pany to re­sume its flight test pro­gramme

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