Sikorsky Brings Life to S-97 Raider

** Sikorsky S-97 Raider**

Sikorsky has achieved a new milestone in the S-97 Raider program, currently in the development phase. The team at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, recently turned on the helicopter’s electrical power for the first time. “This is a big milestone for a development program,” said Sikorsky’s S-97 Raider program manager, Mark Hammond. “The aircraft comes to life when power goes on.”

The helicopter’s multifunction display, control display unit and the CDU-controlled electronic circuit breakers are now operational. The team is currently working on the acceptance test procedures for the electrical power and avionics, and expect to complete the checkout of the remaining avionics, electrical and fly-by-wire flight control systems in the next few weeks.

With its intimidating fuselage design, the Raider is developed for light tactical military use with technology based on the X2 demonstrator, which achieved 253 knots — an unofficial speed record for a helicopter. Despite its speed capabilities, the X2 demonstrator is also capable of hovering. The combination of hover capability and high speed is achieved through dual coaxial counter-rotating main rotors and a pusher propeller. The Raider has been designed with the same configuration.

Sikorsky hopes to take the S-97 Raider for its first flight by the end of the year and to demonstrate its capabilities for the U.S. military in early 2015.

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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