Sikorsky chief test pilot Kevin Bredenbeck says the he'll have the X2 advanced technology demonstrator flying at speeds of 250kt or more by the third or fourth quarter this year.
That's a huge leap from where the aircraft has been so far - three test flights that saw forward speeds less than 40kt and a total accumulated flight time of 2.2 hours - but a jump Sikorsky believes is possible based on the data the gathered during those flights with Bredenbeck behind compound's side-stick controller.
Bredenbeck showed the video below, detailing some of the features and subsystems of the X2, at the Heli Expo show in Anaheim, California this week...
A video of actual flight tests Sikorsky played at show revealed that the helicopter was a bit squirrely in pitch. But Bredenbeck says the wobbling was an expected part of the development of the control system - Engineers needed to gather data on the raw fly-by-wire performance with pilot-in-the-loop in order to tune the aircraft's flight control laws before stability augmentation system (SAS) is incorporated, ensuring a flyable aircraft if SAS fails.
The picture below shows Bredenbeck watching himself flying the X2 on the big screen at Heli Expo.
Sikorsky plans to fly the helicopter again in the March timeframe from its Elmira, New York location after installing the main rotor fairings (which can be seen in the video as compared to the picture from the flight test), stability augmentation system, propulsor software and other elements.
By May, Bredenbeck hopes to be flying the X2 at Sikorsky's West Palm Beach, Florida facility where phases 2-4, the high speed portions of the test program, will take place.
The photo below, also snapped by me from a Sikorsky video at the show, reveals one possible civilian application for the X2.