May 26, 2015
Sikorsky S-97 Raider makes debut test flight
The S-97’s coaxial-compound, rigid-rotor configuration will eventually be tested at speeds up to 220kt – or about 50kt faster than the speed limit of most conventional helicopters – but the maiden flight on 22 May focused on exploring the low-speed envelope in a degraded mode of the fly-by-wire system.
Sikorsky chief pilot completed three take-offs and landings during the hour-long sortie and evaluated the aircraft’s handling in all four cardinal directions at speeds up to 10kt.
Sikorsky launched the S-97 project in 2010 after completing a series of record-breaking demonstration flights of the X2.
The S-97 flies faster than most helicopters because it replaces a tail-rotor with a pusher propeller, which was left deactivated for the first flight test.