CH-53K gears up for flight trials
By Gareth Jennings
Sikorsky has delivered to the flight test team the first prototype CH-53K heavy lift helicopter for the US Marine Corps (USMC), the company announced on 4 December.
The first prototype aircraft, referred to as the Ground Test Vehicle (GTV), will now undertake powered ground checks ahead of the commencement in 2014 of a 12-month flight trial campaign by the four follow-on flight test helicopters.
"The primary purpose of the GTV is to shake out the CH-53K helicopter's dynamic systems by thoroughly testing and measuring the performance of the rotor blades, transmission, and engines while the aircraft is tied to the ground," Michael Torok, Sikorsky's CH-53K programme vice-president said.
Sikorsky and US Navy test pilots will undertake the ground-based flight checks to establish whether these systems meet the requirements as set out by the USMC. According to the company, flight test engineers will spend the coming months performing preliminary acceptance tests that include calibrating the GTV's fuel system and attaching measuring devices at more than 1,300 test locations on the aircraft to record temperature, aerodynamic loads, pressure, and vibrations.180 of 451 words
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