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Director, Engineering Sciences
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Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX), is based in Stratford, Conn., and is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture, and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of hi... more.
Flight Test Engineer On the Certification Program
Panelists: Alton (Al) Romig, Vice President, Advanced Development Programs, The Skunk Works, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics (Moderator); Frank L. Culbertson, Jr., Executive Vice President and General Manager, Advanced Programs Group, Orbital Sciences Corporation; Eric Schrock, Deputy â€" Technology and Product Innovation, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics; Steve Weiner, Chief Engineer, Sikorsky Innovations; and John Tracy, Chief Technologist, The Boeing Company.
2012 - Steven D. Weiner, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
Vertical spoke with Sikorsky prior to the show to get an update on the Raider, the first prototype of which is currently undergoing assembly at Sikorsky's facility in West Palm Beach, Fla. "The assembly's progressing really well," said Steve Weiner, chief engineer for Sikorsky Innovations, the technology development division that created the X2 and is now leading development on the S-97.
According to Weiner, the Raider is benefiting from the same digital design and modeling process that has facilitated development of the CH-53K, creating a virtual three-dimensional model of the aircraft that can be used to resolve engineering conflicts before assembling the real thing. "The digital design and modeling is really reducing the time it takes to put it together," he said. Weiner said that the S-97 Raider is still on track to complete its first flight "before the end of the year," although he did not provide more specifics. And he confirmed that Sikorsky is pressing ahead with the aircraft, despite the fact that the United States Army has delayed its pursuit of a modern helicopter for the Armed Aerial Scout (AAS) program. The AAS program aimed to replace the Army's fleet of OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters with either a new-start program like the Raider, or one of the commercial-off-the-shelf helicopters that were also offered as contenders. In January, however, the Army announced that, due to budget constraints, it would be leveraging its existing fleet of AH-64 Apache helicopters in combination with unmanned systems as an interim solution for the armed aerial scout role. "There is still a long-term requirement for an armed aerial scout," said Weiner, explaining that Sikorsky is betting on the Army re-evaluating its requirements in the future. He said the company was encouraged by the outbrief it received after meeting with the Army as part of the AAS request for information process: "We had effectively no deficiencies. . . . I think they regarded us from a risk level as low." Meanwhile, work is also progressing on the Defiant, Sikorsky and Boeing's joint proposal for the Army's Joint Multi Role/Future Vertical Lift (JMR/FVL) program.
Corey Spiegel and Sikorsky's Steve Weiner • View on Flickr
Steve Weiner, director of engineering sciences at Sikorsky Aircraft, explains why that is and why Sikorsky's new experimental helicopter, the "X2 demonstrator," may be a game changer.
Steve Weiner: On a regular helicopter with a single rotor, as the rotor blade is spinning around, on one side of the helicopter it's moving in the same direction that the helicopter is flying. Steve Weiner: Eventually that pitch gets so high that that blade stalls: It can't provide any more lift. Steve Weiner: The XH59A had managed to get to 238 knots in the early '80s. Kevin Bredenbeck: I remember the day my boss came to me and said, "Go see this fellow Steve Weiner. Steve Weiner: So then it became, What would really make sense? Steve Weiner: This is really the first practical high-speed helicopter-you know, the fact that it does it efficiently and that it doesn't lose any of the other capabilities that helicopters have, in fact, it enhances several of them, is really the real difference. I'm very optimistic about the future of this technology.