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Sikorsky Aircraft begins testing of active rotor system to improve helicopter performance

As part of an effort to improve helicopter performance, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. has begun whirl testing a demonstration rotor system with active flaps.  The effort is jointly funded by Sikorsky and the Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD). Sikorsky Aircraft is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).

"We have reached full speed of 450 rpm and commenced testing flap integrity and functionality," said Jim Kagdis, program manager for Sikorsky Advanced Programs. "Now we will investigate rotor reconfiguration capabilities to demonstrate the potential to reduce rotor vibration and noise, and increase blade loading, which enables higher maneuverability and speed."

Testing is expected to continue through the month of August. Wind tunnel testing at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is planned in 2010.

"The beginning of active rotor program testing is evidence of Sikorsky's commitment to design, develop, test, and to ultimately field next-generation technologies that will advance the current state of rotorcraft," said Mark Miller, Vice President, Research & Engineering. "We are on a path to prove the concept of configuring a helicopter's dynamic system to maximize aircraft performance, reduce noise and lower vibration while enhancing overall mission effectiveness.  It is another giant step toward meeting future needs and customer expectations."

Development partners on the project are United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) for the blades and Hamilton Sundstrand Claverham for the flap actuators.

Press release issued by Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company on August 26, 2009

 

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