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On Thursday, the Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 Defiant lifted off for its first flight, demonstrating that it is greater than only a fancy design on paper and within the hangar. Over the course of slightly higher than 30 minutes, the Defiant proved it will probably ascend and descend, transfer ahead and backward, and rotate left and proper.
The businesses described the exercise as low-speed flight maneuvers, and a temporary video confirmed the helicopter doing its factor within the space of maybe 10 to 20 ft off the bottom. The take a look at flight occurred at a Sikorsky airfield in West Palm Seashore, Florida.
The SB>1 Defiant has an uncommon design. The place most helicopters have a single important rotor on prime for vertical carry, the Defiant has a pair of coaxial rotors, one spinning clockwise and the opposite counterclockwise to stability out the torque — that’s, to maintain it from flipping to 1 facet or the opposite. Meaning the plane does not want the usual side-facing tail rotor. As an alternative, it has a rear-facing pusher propeller, which is supposed to get the Defiant zooming alongside in high-speed horizontal flight.
“Defiant is designed to fly at practically twice the velocity and has twice the vary of typical helicopters whereas retaining the perfect, if not higher, low-speed and hover efficiency of typical helicopters,” Dan Spoor, a Sikorsky vice chairman, stated in an announcement.
The coaxial design can be present in some Russian navy helicopters, however with out a propeller on the tail. Sikorsky earlier used the design (with the pusher propeller) in its experimental X2 helicopter and the follow-on S-97 Raider.
Within the video, the Defiant’s pusher propeller was inactive.
The Defiant design is into consideration by the US Military for the , which is meant to discover a substitute for lots of the US navy helicopters in use immediately. (Finally, as in by the early 2030s.) Defiant’s rival in that space is the Bell V-280 Valor, which is not a helicopter however relatively a tilt-rotor plane akin to the V-22 Osprey utilized by the US Marines. The V-280 has been racking up flight-test miles since its first flight, in December 2017.
Subsequent up, the Sikorsky-Boeing workforce will analyze Thursday’s flight information and lay out a plan for extra take a look at flights of the Defiant within the weeks and months forward.