Magazine article National Defense

Tiltrotor Sales Unlikely to Take off, Industry Veteran Says

Magazine article National Defense

Tiltrotor Sales Unlikely to Take off, Industry Veteran Says

Article excerpt

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.

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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."

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. …

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