Tue, Jun 03, 2008
First Phase Completed Earlier This Year
Earlier this year, Piasecki Aircraft Corporation (PiAC)
completed the initial Phase 1 flight test of the SpeedHawk X-49A
Vectored Thrust Ducted Propeller (VTDP) compound helicopter at New
Castle County Airport near Wilmington, DE.
"All contract milestones have been successfully completed and
the results, pending Government analysis, meet or exceed contract
objectives," announced Fred Piasecki, Vice President, Engineering
and Chairman of the Board. "We are now in the process of supporting
the Government review of the test data, while we continue to expand
the Phase 1 Flight test matrix."
The Government’s review of test data will be complete in
June, and to the extent identifies any additional Phase 1 test
requirements, these will be addressed during ongoing flight tests
being conducted this summer.
After completion of Phase 1, plans are the X-49A test aircraft
will be brought out of flight status and modified to conduct Phase
2 flight testing. These modifications incorporate a supplementary
power unit, upgrades to the flight controls and streamlining
various parts of the aircraft to achieve speeds over 200 kts.
"These successful tests are the product of decades of innovative
research and development in compound helicopters by our company led
by Frank Piasecki, our founder and one of the original inventors
and pioneers of the American helicopter industry," said John
Piasecki, President and CEO of Piasecki Aircraft Corp.
The objective of the X-49A VTDP compound helicopter technology
is to significantly improve helicopter speed, range, ceiling,
survivability and life cycle cost. To date the Phase 1 flight tests
preliminary results indicate a significant increase in speed over
the baseline H-60; hover performance on average appear to be within
3.7% of predicted values; and forward flight vibration and fatigue
loads were significantly reduced. Based on these test results, PiAC
is confident that we can safely expand the flight envelope beyond
the current NATOPS limit of the SH-60 and demonstrate the full
capability of this technology.
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