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Thanks to The Woracle for posting video on YouTube showing the X2′s record-breaking flight. Here’s background:
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It’s worth pointing out that the pusher propeller on the tail means that the X2 isn’t really a pure helicopter. It’s an apples-and-oranges comparison to say that the X2 broke a helicopter record, not very meaningful in my opinion. You can say that it broke a record among “compound helicopters” (aircraft that generate lift from spinning rotors and that have dedicated sources of horizontal thrust in addition to tilting the spinning rotors) but that field is a lot less crowded! Besides, Bell once put jet engines on the sides of a Huey (plus stub wings and a new rotor) and that got up to 275 knots: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_533
Which is not to say that the Sikorsky X2 isn’t a very impressive machine. Record or no record, the engineering that went into it is amazing, and it helps to open up new possibilities in rotorcraft performance.
Does that mean the Brits still have the fastest “proper” helicopter?
X2 is definitely “NOT” a helicopter, that is self evident by the wings….uh, opps….no wings and it’s got rotors, wow! No wings and it goes 250+ knots. Me thinks, this is the end of the old style helos!
Get a compound rocking chair, grandpa. Remember those guys who said a plane can’t fly without a propeller, now neither can a helicopter!
Helofan: Yes, I think that technically the Lynx is still the fastest helicopter. I think the Bell 533 didn’t have the stub wings on when it flew its 274-knot flight, so if the Lynx isn’t the fastest helicopter, then the Bell 533 would be.
RunningBear: One could argue that two things that define a helicopter are: It gets its lift from a spinning rotor or two (not from a wing), and it gets its thrust from tilting that rotor forward so that the rotor force has a forwards component (not from dedicated forward-propulsion engines). You correctly point out that the X2 doesn’t violate the no-wings definition. However, it does violate the no-dedicated-forward-thrust-device definition. Of course, different people and agencies and companies have different definitions of what qualifies as a helicopter, and I’m not saying that a helicopter MUST fit in both the no-wings definition AND the no-dedicated-forward-thrust-device definition. Different definitions are probably more useful in different circumstances. I’m just putting those forward as two criteria that make the X2 a very different machine from previous helicopters (except “helicopters” like the Lockheed Cheyenne and Bell 533) and thus not really comparable. But I do agree that the X2 (and the new EADS compound helicopter, and things like the CarterCopter and tiltrotors) might make the pure helicopter become an outdated idea within our lifetimes. That’s an exciting thought!
The X2 is absolutely eligible to claim the same speed record held by G-LYNX. The FAI definition of helicopter (the only one relevant for the record claim) is pretty clear and it has nothing to do with how the aircraft is propelled, only how it generates lift.
“18.104.22.168 HELICOPTER: A rotorcraft which, in flight, derives substantially the whole of its lift from a power-driven rotor system whose axis (axes) is (are) fixed and substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the rotorcraft.”
PS for AirShowFan: the Model 533 was fitted with lift-producing wings for all of its high-speed flights. That means it doesn’t count as a helicopter for FAI record purposes.
I can’t argue with that!
were the main rotors supposed to be that slow during take off and landing, or was it just slow-mo?
They did mess with the playback speed a bit in places, but mostly what you’re seeing is a strobe effect caused by the rotor speed interacting with the camera’s shutter speed. In the hover, the X2′s rotor is actually spinning at about 450 rpm, declining to 360 or so at cruise, while the camera is probably only grabbing a frame every 60th of a second or so. It looks like it’s turning slowly because the camera and rotor are almost in sync — when they are perfectly in sync, it looks like the blade isn’t even moving at all.
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