Sikorsky Firefly Electric Helo Nearing Test Flight
One of the projects which are the closest to completion is the Sikorsky Firefly, a helicopter developed by the famous helicopter builder. Using a Schweizer S-300C as a basis, the helicopter has an electric motor and a battery system instead of the regular propulsion system (Lycoming piston engine).
The electric drive train fitted into the helicopter develops 190 hp (142 kW, the same as the original engine), weighing in all 180 lbs. The batteries houses 150 individual, 45 Amp-hour lithium-ion cells, split in twin compartments.
According to ainonline.com, Sikorsky is approaching a major milestone in the development of the helicopter, pondering the first test flight of the model (even if the exact date when the model takes to the sky has not yet been decided). Expectations are the helo will be capable of roughly the same performances as the original one, with speeds reaching as much as 86 knots.
“This is a technology demonstrator and research platform that will let us explore the technology, partnerships and technical collaboration required to push vertical electric flight technology forward,” said Chris Van Buiten, director of Sikorsky Innovations.
“It’s fun for us. This is familiar territory for Sikorsky. Back in the day, we made the first practical helicopter, so we’re used to starting these new curves.”