Sikorsky's X2 demonstrator will take to the skies for one final flight this summer to test out a central sail fairing located between the compound helicopter's dual rotors, company president Jeff Pino said.
The test is not about pushing the X2's speed higher (the X2 reached its goal of 250kt [463km/h] in September), but is primarily to evaluate the sail structure under torque and wind conditions, Pino said, adding that the fairing could cut drag enough to boost speeds by double-digits.
The flight will take place at Sikorsky's West Palm Beach, Florida, flight test facility, witnessed by "our military customers". The X2 will then go on a static display road tour and then on to the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum. The company had contemplated a public display of the X2 in flight in May at Andrews AFB near Washington DC, but the helicopter did not have enough flight time to qualify for a type of experimental airworthiness certificate from the US Federal Aviation Administration, a requirement to fly in that airspace. "We were victims of our own flight test efficiency," said Pino.