Raider of the skies takes flight

The Sikorsky S-97 Raider took to the sky for the first time on Friday 22 May, announced by Sikorsky as a ‘legendary lift off’. The ground breaking aircraft performed ‘rock solid’, according to Sikorsky test pilot Bill Fell. The S-97 is designed to be a new airborne platform for the US military, using a new so-called X2 rotor coaxial design.

The first flight lasted one hour and took the aircraft through a series of maneuvers designed to test the aircraft’s hover and low-speed capability. A second S-97 will join tests later this year.

The single-engine Raider features a composite airframe and a maximum gross weight of slightly more than 11,000 lbs. The aircraft will be capable of carrying an array of weapons and sensors, necessary for the mission. The aircraft was first rolled out on 2 October 2014.

The cockpit fits two pilots, seated side-by-side. The flexible cabin space will carry up to six combat-equipped troops, or additional fuel and ammunition for extended missions.

© 2015 editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top) Sen during first flight: the S-97.
(Image © Sikorsky / Twitter)