King Stallion Airborne

Posted 28 October 2015

A company flight crew led by Chief Experimental Test Pilot Stephen McCulley carried out the first flight of the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter (US Navy Bureau Number 169019) on 27 October 2015. The thirty-minute flight at the company’s facility in West Palm Beach, Florida, included hover, sideward, rearward and forward flight control inputs while in ground effect hover up to thirty feet above ground level. This first flight signals the beginning of a 2,000-hour, three year flight test program with four CH-53Ks. The current program calls for 200 CH-53Ks with the US Marine Corps standing up eight active duty squadrons, one training squadron, and one reserve squadron. Initial Operational Capability is scheduled for 2019. The Lockheed Martin acquisition of Sikorsky is expected to conclude in late 2015.

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