Sikorsky developed the X2 helicopter on a $50 million budget. The design includes expertise gathered from several earlier design projects. The S-69/XH-59A Advancing Blade Concept Demonstrator had shown that high speed was possible with a coaxial helicopter with auxiliary propulsion supplied using two jet engines, but that vibration and fuel consumption was excessive; the Cypher UAV expanded the company's knowledge of the unique aspects of coaxial flight control laws with a fly-by-wire aircraft; and the RAH-66 Comanche developed expertise in composite rotors and advanced transmission design.
Other features include slowed "de-swirling"rigid rotors two feet apart, active force counter-vibration inspired by the Black Hawk, and using most of the power in forward flight for the pusher propeller rather than the rotor. Unusually for helicopters, the power required for high speed is more than the hover power. The pilot controls the independent propeller power with a thumb wheel on the collective.
Test flights and flight simulations were combined to improve test procedure. The fly-by-wire system is provided by Honeywell, the rotor by Eagle Aviation Technologies, anti-vibration technology from Moog Inc, and propeller by Aero Composites. The rotor hub can have 10-20 times the drag of the blade. Sikorsky intended to test hub fairings to reduce drag by 40%, and test flew fairings on the hubs themselves but not the central hub fairing ("aero sail") in between the hubs. Sikorsky has since patented a "Standpipe" (fixed tube between rotating rotor axes) suitable for a central hub fairing.
The X2 first flew on 27 August 2008 from Schweizer Aircraft, a division of Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation's facility at Horseheads, New York. The flight lasted 30 minutes. This began a four-phase flight test program, to culminate with reaching a planned 250-knot top speed. The X2 completed flights with its propeller fully engaged in July 2009. Sikorsky completed phase three of the testing with the X2 reaching 181 knots in test flight in late May 2010.
On 26 July 2010, Sikorsky announced that the X2 exceeded 225 knots (259 mph; 417 km/h) during flight testing in West Palm Beach Florida, unofficially surpassing the current FAI rotorcraftworld speed record of 216 knots (249 mph; 400 km/h) set by a modified Westland Lynx in 1986.
On 15 September 2010, test pilot Kevin Bredenbeck achieved Sikorsky's design goal for the X2 when he flew it at a speed of 250 knots (290 mph; 460 km/h) in level flight, an unofficial speed record for a helicopter. The demonstrator then reached a new record speed of 260 knots (300 mph; 480 km/h) in a shallow 2? to 3? dive, which was just short of the 303 mph achieved by the Sikorsky S-69 technology demonstrator helicopter. Sikorsky states that the X2 has the same noise level at 200 knots that a regular helicopter has at 100 knots. Above 200 knots, the rotor speed is reduced from 446 to 360 RPM to keep tip speed below Mach 0.9, the rotor disc is slightly nose-up, and the lift-to-drag ratio is about twice that of a conventional helicopter. Hands-off flying was also successfully performed during flight tests.
^Thomas Lawrence and David Jenney (31 Aug 2010). "The Fastest Helicopter on Earth". IEEE Spectrum. Archived from the original on 30 January 2017. Retrieved 2017. the helicopter vibrated so much at these higher speeds that its pilots struggled to control it .. The heavy and fuel-hungry jets pushed the aircraft to high speedCS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)