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Sikorsky Focuses on S-97 ‘Iron Bird’ Tests

By Staff Writer | October 13, 2015
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Sikorsky Aircraft is holding off on further S-97 Raider flights while it gathers data on systems performance with a ground-test rig. The No. 1 S-97 has logged 2.2 flight hours in two sorties, the first of which was on May 22. A second prototype is nearly complete; it is on display at the Assn. of the U.S. Army's annual convention in Washington, D.C., this week. But the Raider experimental test pilot, Bill Fell, said Sikorsky wants to accumulate systems test data on the ground before flight tests resume. He said the ground test rig now has about 40 hr of test time. "Once we get 200 hr on the ground test stand, we'll have a green light to go expand the envelope on the aircraft," Fell said. The S-97 work is feeding into development of the Sikorsky-Boeing SB-1 Defiant contender for the U.S. Army's Joint Multi-Role (JMR) technology demonstrator effort to develop a 30,000-lb gross-weight aircraft. Bell Helicopter, meanwhile, said it is focusing on taking operational cost out of the V-280 tiltrotor contender it is developing with Lockheed Martin.

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