Sergei Sikorsky--Tiltrotor sales unlikely to take off

Triton

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"Tiltrotor Sales Unlikely to Take Off, Industry Veteran Says"
July 2014
by Valerie Insinna

Source:
http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/archive/2014/July/Pages/TiltrotorSalesUnlikelytoTakeOff,IndustryVeteranSays.aspx

Sergei Sikorsky, the son of rotorcraft pioneer Igor Sikorsky, has witnessed more than 70 years of helicopter development and has been involved in many programs at his father’s company, Sikorsky Aircraft. But he is skeptical that tiltrotor aircraft will take the place of conventional helicopters, he told reporters in May.

“Being a very conservative character, I think you’re going to see pure helicopters around for a long, long time. I don’t see any of these tiltrotors or any of these combinations of lifting fans” gaining traction, he said. “First of all, lifting fans are going to fry a lot of people on the ground if you want to, say, make a rescue of someone. You start hovering over him, and he’s being toasted in 600 degree [Fahrenheit] downwash.”

Like other industry analysts, Sikorsky believes military procurement and research-and-development funding is likely to decrease in the next decade, and at least one helicopter manufacturer is likely to go out of business as a result. However, it is not all bad news for the rotorcraft industry, he said.

“I think the encouraging thing here, is an awful lot of that technology we’re developing right now for the military will eventually end up in civil machines as well,” he said. Even small civil helicopters will begin incorporating fly-by-wire systems, for instance.

Helicopters will become faster, with the ability to travel longer ranges without needing to be refueled. Materials and manufacturing techniques will also continue to progress, he said. Advanced composites have the potential to cut down a helicopter’s weight, and can be used to build an airframe without the need for heavy machinery.

“Also, I personally am very much intrigued by this additive manufacturing technology and the fact that you may eventually be able to build gear boxes and transmissions” using it, he said. “I personally think it will revolutionize manufacturing in about another 30 years.”

While manned aircraft will continue to dominate sales, unmanned full-size helicopters will increasingly be used to transport cargo in and out of isolated areas, thus reducing danger to pilots, he said.

Sikorsky Aircraft announced later that month that it would produce an unmanned version of is UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.
 

Triton

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"Like other industry analysts, Sikorsky believes military procurement and research-and-development funding is likely to decrease in the next decade, and at least one helicopter manufacturer is likely to go out of business as a result. However, it is not all bad news for the rotorcraft industry, he said."

I thought this observation was interesting. I also wonder if the one that is left will be an acquisition target?
 

sferrin

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Triton said:
"Like other industry analysts, Sikorsky believes military procurement and research-and-development funding is likely to decrease in the next decade, and at least one helicopter manufacturer is likely to go out of business as a result. However, it is not all bad news for the rotorcraft industry, he said."

I thought this observation was interesting. I also wonder if the one that is left will be an acquisition target?

Would be interesting if NG bought Bell.
 

sublight is back

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“Being a very conservative character, I think you’re going to see pure helicopters around for a long, long time. I don’t see any of these tiltrotors or any of these combinations of lifting fans” gaining traction, he said. “First of all, lifting fans are going to fry a lot of people on the ground if you want to, say, make a rescue of someone. You start hovering over him, and he’s being toasted in 600 degree [Fahrenheit] downwash.”

He lacks vision. As advancements in power and the hunt for high temp superconduction rages on, something like an all electric LTV XC-142 is inevitable.
 

Triton

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sublight is back said:
He lacks vision. As advancements in power and the hunt for high temp superconduction rages on, something like an all electric LTV XC-142 is inevitable.

I take his comments with a grain of salt, he's marketing the CH-53K and X-2 Technology after all. While he has the chance, he will knock Bell's product.
 

yasotay

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Bell has a far better fall back position in the civil sector than any of the other rotorcraft vendors. Surprisingly Boeing has the most risk as they have no civil rotor craft programs to speak of. Not surprising of Mr. Sikorsky to wave off on tilt rotor not because of militarily but in civil market. With deep water oil going further out the productivity of a tilt rotor begins to look appealing against S-76 and S-97. With turboprop performance and efficiency if tilt rotor can keep their DOC competitive they will give conventional helicopters a challenge.
 

Stargazer2006

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Igor Sikorsky always was a visionary, but also a very shrewd businessman, who did bombers when that was required, flying boats when that was the trend, and returned to helicopters because it had always been his lifelong dream.

His son Sergei describes himself as a conservative person and that he certainly is. His words sound like they could have been spoken in the 1970s. Not just that, but he bashes tiltrotor technology because it's a Bell concept from the start, when the company developed the XV-3 Convertiplane succesfully at a time when Sikorsky's contender was the highly unproven XV-2 stowed single-blade rotor concept.

Sikorsky may have had advances in VTOL technology with the Cyphen/Dragon Warrior platform; they may even have scored a degree of success with a string of experimental helicopter types such as the S-69 ABC, the S-72 RSRA, the S-75 ACAP, the stealth RAH-66A Comanche, the X-49 Speedhawk and the X2 demonstrator, but the truth is that the company never designed or developed a practical VTOL aircraft, and that's why Sergei dismisses the tiltrotor, I think. The success thereof would be a terrible blow to his company, especially since the company's mainstay, the Blackhawk, is aging, the S-92 is not quite the huge commercial success that was hoped for, and the S-97 Raider's future is not secured yet.
 
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