Sikorsky’s X2 pilot wins prestigious honour
Nov. 14, 2011, Dubai, U.A.E. - Flightglobal Magazine has named Sikorsky Aircraft’s X2 Technology Demonstrator Pilot Kevin Bredenbeck its “Aviator of the Year.”
By Carey Fredericks
Bredenbeck, who also is Sikorsky’s Director of Flight Operations, accepted the award at the Flightglobal Achievement Awards VIP reception, held at the Al Badia Golf Club during the Dubai Air Show.
The Flightglobal Achievement Awards celebrate and acknowledge individuals, teams and innovations at work in the aviation and aerospace industries. Readers provide the nominations in four categories: Leader of the Year, Aviator of the Year, and Innovator of the Year, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award. A panel of experts narrows the candidates and then selects a winner in each category.
“What an incredible experience this program has given me, the X2 team, and the entire Sikorsky workforce,” Bredenbeck said. “Today, the future of rotorcraft looks different because of what Sikorsky accomplished on the X2 Technology demonstrator. I am honored to be recognized, but, make no mistake, the achievement of the X2 was a total effort by a dedicated team, backed by the full support of 18,000 Sikorsky employees.”
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. Last month, the Society of Experimental Test Pilots recognized Bredenbeck with the Iven C. Kincheloe Award for the year’s outstanding professional accomplishment in the conduct of flight testing.
In addition, the X2 demonstrator 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 recognition garnered by the X2 Technology demonstrator program speaks volumes about the confidence the aviation and aerospace industries have in its innovators to push the boundaries of the possible. We are proud to lead the exploration and to forge these new paths, particularly knowing that the X2 signals a turning point toward an exciting new future in rotorcraft.”
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 X2 program, Sikorsky Aircraft launched the S-97 RAIDER™ program in 2010. Sikorsky and select suppliers will design, build, and fly two prototype light tactical helicopters which 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.