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Army aviators ask for more comfort, less workload from future vertical lift teams

Army Futures Command introduced about a dozen soldiers to technology demonstrators for the service?s future vertical lift program last week, giving them an opportunity to provide input prior to the evaluations and fly-offs over the next few years.

The soldiers spent a full day each with Bell?s V-280 Valor tilt-rotor aircraft in Arlington, Texas, and Sikorsky-Boeing?s SB-1 Defiant coaxial helicopter in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The site visits included flying simulators and aircraft familiarizations. Two of the soldiers who participated spoke with Army Times about the experience.

?We?ve never seen anything like it,? said Chief Warrant Officer 2 William Bogert, a UH-60 Black Hawk pilot with the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade.

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The Pirouetting S-97 Raider Makes Your Helicopter Look Lazy

EVEN AT SEVEN in the morning, the south Florida heat and humidity is stifling. It steams up eyeglasses and feels like an iron on your skin. An alligator lurks in a stagnant pond near the runway?perhaps a spy sent by Bell, Sikorsky?s chief competitor for the contract to build the Defense Depart?ment?s next generation of vertical-lift aircraft.

But any resentment about Sikorsky?s decision to test its radical new S-97 Raider prototype at its facility in West Palm Beach vanishes as the helicopter?s 2,600-horsepower turbine engine spools and the dual, counterrotating rotors above the fuselage start spinning, out-blowing any ocean breeze.

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