Sikorsky chief test pilot awarded for X2 work
Oct. 4, 2011, Stratford, Conn. - Kevin Bredenbeck, the pilot who flew the revolutionary X2 Technology™ demonstrator last year to an unofficial speed record for conventional helicopters, has been recognized by the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP) with the Iven C. Kincheloe Award for the year’s outstanding professional accomplishment in the conduct of flight testing, Sikorsky Aircraft announced Monday.
By Carey Fredericks
Bredenbeck, who also is Sikorsky’s Director of Flight Operations, accepted the award at a ceremony in California on Sept. 24.
“It’s hard to believe what has transpired over the last few years, focusing on the task at hand, holding a team together and pushing the envelope of an ‘X’ plane,” Bredenbeck said in collecting the award. “I got to lead a great team and would never have been able to demonstrate the capabilities of this X2 technology without them. I’m even prouder that this team delivered to the doorstep of the future the next generation potential for rotor winged flight.”
The Iven C. Kincheloe Award was established in 1958 in memory of Air Force Test Pilot and SETP member Iven C.Kincheloe to honor exceptional contributions to an aerospace program as a test pilot. The award is sponsored by the Lockheed Martin Corp. The history of previous award winners includes some of the aerospace and aviation industry’s most accomplished and recognized figures in experimental and exploration flight including NASA astronauts from the Space Shuttle and Apollo space program.
The X2 Technology demonstrator has been recognized with a number of aviation, innovation and technology accolades over the past two years including winning the Robert J. Collier Trophy for greatest achievement in aerospace in 2010. In addition, it was chosen by the American Helicopter Society as the winner of the 2011 Hughes Award, given in recognition of an outstanding improvement in fundamental helicopter technology brought to fruition during the preceding calendar year. In April 2011, Professional Pilot magazine named X2 as the “Innovation of the Year.”
The X2 also was previously named one of the Top 10 Technologies to Watch by Aviation Week (January 2010), was awarded a 2009 Breakthrough Award in Innovation from Popular Mechanics magazine, was named One of 2009’s Best Inventions by Time magazine, was identified among the “Best of What’s New” by Popular Science in 2009, and was a finalist forAviation Week’s Laureate Award in Aerospace and Propulsion.
Mark Miller, Sikorsky Vice President of Research & Engineering, said: “The SETP award is appreciated by the entire Sikorsky workforce as recognition of the great things that can be accomplished with innovative thinking, dedication to the task at hand, and a vision that believes the tough challenges of vertical flight are attainable.”
The X2 Technology program began in 2005 when Sikorsky first committed resources and full funding for the program’s development. The X2 Technology demonstrator combines an integrated suite of technologies intended to advance the state-of-the-art, counter-rotating coaxial rotor helicopter. It is designed to demonstrate a helicopter can cruise comfortably at 250 knots while retaining such desirable attributes as excellent low speed handling, efficient hovering, and a seamless and simple transition to high speed.
Among the innovative technologies the X2 Technology demonstrator employs are:
· Fly-by-wire flight controls
· Counter-rotating rigid rotor blades
· Hub drag reduction
· Active vibration control
· Integrated auxiliary propulsion system
As a “follow-on” to the successful X2 program, Sikorsky Aircraft is continuing development of the next-generation rotary wing technology by launching the S-97™ RAIDER™ program. Sikorsky and select suppliers will design, build, and fly two prototype light tactical helicopters. These prototype vehicles will enable the U.S. armed forces to experience, first hand, the advanced performance capabilities X2 Technology can provide.
Like the X2 Technology demonstrator, the S-97 RAIDER helicopter will feature twin coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and a pusher propeller. In addition to flying at nearly twice the speed of a conventional helicopter, the S-97 RAIDER prototype aircraft will incorporate other key performance parameters critical to combat operations — increased maneuverability, greater endurance, and the ability to operate at high altitudes.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture, and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.