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Eurocopter X3 Hybrid Helicopter Exceeds Speed Challenge
In brief: Eurocopter has achieved a new milestone in development of the X3 hybrid helicopter, reaching 232 knots (267mph) in true air speed at stable, level flight after an upgrade allowed the machine to operate at full power.
Vehicle in the news
Make/Model: X3 demonstrator
The X3 is equipped with two turboshaft engines that power a five blade main rotor and two propellers mounted on airplane-like fixed wings. The forward-facing turbo props stabilize the aircraft and allow it to travel at speeds equivalent to prop planes as well. The overhead helicopter rotor also allows for vertical takeoff, landing and hovering as a helicopter.
Because of this design, the aircraft doesn't require anti-vibration systems, as many helicopter designs do, and flies with low vibration as-is. This means fewer systems on board and more power for the propellers.
The X3 is being flight tested at the DGA Flight Test CEnter in Istres, France. The helicopter will initially be marketed to rescue services including the U.S. Coast Guard and Search and Rescue.
And so ...
Because of the plane-like characteristics in flight, the X3 is much more fuel efficient in longer-range, cruising flight than a traditional helicopter while remaining capable of accomplishing the same tasks.
Photo credits: Eurocopter
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