Eurocopter X3 Hybrid Helicopter Continues US Tour

Today, July 17, 2012, the Eurocopter of the X3 high-speed hybrid helicopter continues its U.S. tour in Fayetteville, N.C. where there the helicopter has made its initial arrival prior to the second round of flight demonstrations for military leaders and aviators in various  locations across the country.

The Eurocopter X3 will demonstrate its unique flight characteristics that includes a cruise speed of 200 knots, high rates of climb and executing high-speed maneuvers that are not routine for conventional rotary-wing aircraft. The X3 has already demonstrated a maximum speed of 232 knots at 80 percent power and a rate of climb of 5,500 feet per minute.

The tour was attended by employees, elected officials, customers and industry partners. It began when the X3 made its debut at the Grand Prairie, Texas headquarters of Eurocopter’s U.S. subsidiary – the American Eurocopter.

“I’m confident that military leaders and aviators will find that the cutting-edge technology we’ve developed with the X3 is truly a revolutionary development in rotary-wing aviation,” said Eurocopter President and CEO Lutz Bertling. “The innovative design and unmatched technology of our X3 demonstrator will have numerous civil and military applications.”

Eurocopter’s aircraft configuration for the X3 uses a pair of turboshaft engines to power a five-blade main rotor system, along with two propellers installed on short-span fixed wings. This concept is well adapted to missions requiring long transit flights and where speed is important, while retaining vertical lift and hover capabilities — all at a very affordable cost.

The company envisions a wide range of applications for its hybrid technology in future products such as long-distance SAR or Search And Rescue, Coast Guard missions, border patrol missions, passenger transport and off-shore airlift, along with inter-city shuttle services. It also is well-suited for military missions in special forces operations, troop transport, combat SAR and medical evacuation — benefitting from the combination of higher cruise speeds with excellent vertical takeoff and landing performance.

Eurocopter began X3 flight testing in September 2010 at the Istres Flight Test Center in southern France, where the aircraft easily surpassed its initial speed target of 220 knots; reaching more than 230 knots in level flight while using only 80 percent of available power. Beyond confirming its excellent flight qualities, maneuverability, outstanding acceleration and deceleration capabilities, the hybrid demonstrator has shown exceptional climb and descent rates along with very low vibration levels — all without any need for passive or active anti-vibration systems.

Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace and defense-related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approximately 20,000 people. In 2011, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s number one helicopter manufacturer with a turnover of 5.4 billion Euros, orders for 457 new helicopters and a 43 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors.

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