Eurocopter's X3 hybrid aircraft begins military section of U.S. tour
HUNTSVILLE, Ala., 4 July 2012. Eurocopter continues its U.S. tour of the X3 hybrid aircraft in Huntsville, Ala., where the aircraft will perform the first of several flight demonstrations for military leaders and aviators in many locations across the country.
The X3 began flight testing in September 2010 at the Istres Flight Test Center in southern France. In testing to date the X3 surpassed its original speed target of 253 mph.; reaching more than 264 mph. in level flight while using less than 80 percent of available power. Beyond confirming its flight qualities, maneuverability, acceleration and deceleration capabilities, the hybrid aircraft has shown climb and descent rates along with low vibration levels, all without any passive or active anti-vibration systems.
The X3 demonstrator, based on a Eurocopter EC155 helicopter with the addition of two short span wings and the removal of the tail rotor, is equipped with two turboshaft engines that power a five-blade main rotor system and two propellers installed on short-span fixed wings. A wide range of uses are imagined for this hybrid configuration, including long-distance search and rescue (SAR), coast guard duties, border patrol missions, passenger transport, off-shore airlift, along with inter-city shuttle services. It is also well-suited for military missions in special forces operations, troop transport, combat SAR and medical evacuation, benefiting from the combination of higher cruise speeds with vertical takeoff and landing performance.