[Editor's note: Just a quick note folks...I'll be attending the Republican Convention this week and will be posting entries on Military.com's Election Center blog. Ward, John, Kevin and the rest of the gang will be backing me up here while I'm wading through all the politics and hot air in Minniapolis-St. Paul.]
Sikorsky has begun flight testing the UH-60M Upgrade, the latest version of the Black Hawk and the first fly-by-wire helicopter for the U.S. Army.
The first flight at the companys West Palm Beach, Fla, test center lasted around 60 minutes and included hover, forward flight and a hover turn, Sikorsky says.
The M Upgrade introduces a digital fly-by-wire (FBW) system with triple-redundant Hamilton Sundstrand dual-channel flight control computers and actuators, and BAE Systems active control sticks.
Sikorsky says FBW, coupled with Rockwell Collins Common Aviation Architecture System (CAAS) glass cockpit, reduces pilot workload, improves aircraft handling qualities and increases pilot situational awareness.
Eliminating mechanical control linkages also saves weight and reduces maintenance, the company says. At the same time, the engines are upgraded to General Electric T700-701Es with fully authority digital engine control.