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It certainly doesn’t look like the typical helicopter you see flying above your city. There’s not one rotor spinning around on top, but two, one spinning clockwise, the other counter-clockwise. And there’s no tail rotor, but a propeller. Together, this is the dynamic advancement that its maker, Sikorsky, says enabled the Sikorsky X2 to recently break the world record for helicopter speed, hitting 250 knots per hour, which is about 280 miles per hour.
“The fact that we have 2 rotors spinning in opposite directions takes away the issues that cause helicopters to only fly to 150 kph, and allow us to go 250,” says Sikorsky President Jeffrey Pino.
Sikorsky put on a world-debut demonstration of it’s X2 prototype, which included a drag race with a standard helicopter, a Bell 407. Needless to say, by the time the Bell reached the finish line 3000 feet down the runway, the X2 was long gone.
The Russians have a similarly designed attack helicopter, the Kamov KA-50, known as the “Black Shark.” It looks similar to the US Army’s Apache, but with 2 rotors stacked above each other. And, as the military is Sikorsky’s primary plan for its new helicopter design, it unveiled its new Raider design, which can seat 6 soldiers, carry gun or missile mounts and serve as a scout helicopter. As of now, there is no Pentagon contract.
Health care experts are also intrigued by the potential of this new twice-as-fast helicopter design, especially in the area of EMS helicopters that you see ferrying critically injured patients to trauma centers for life saving treatment. In the medical community, there is what is known as “the golden hour,” the 60 minutes between injury and treatment. It’s accepted dogma that if you can treat someone in that time, you greatly enhance the chances of the end result being life, not death.
“A fast helicopter matters, whether or not you were shot or you had a car accident or a fall or a burn. Any one of those things, time matters,” says Dr. Nicholas Namias of the University of Miami’s Ryder Trauma Center in downtown Miami.
Sikorsky hopes to have its first military-ready Raiders on the market in about 5 years. As for this technological advancement replacing the single rotor helicopter designs that we all see in our skies, most likely, don’t expect that for a decade or longer.
There's a vid at this link.
Stealth, so the bad guys don't know your there till they start blowing up. Have a nice day!