“Based on the X3 technologies, Eurocopter will continue
setting the standard on future helicopters – offering
our customers new levels of performance in terms of
speed, range and mission capabilities at competitive
costs," said CEO of Eurocopter, Guillaume Faury. "The
outstanding X3 achievements result from the commitment
and excellence of our teams. I want to recognize
everyone involved in the demonstrator’s development.”
The X3 was developed in a rapid paced Eurocopter program
that utilized one of the company’s Dauphin helicopters
as the airframe. For the latest high-speed milestone,
the demonstrator was equipped with a drag-reducing rotor
head fairing, which directly benefitted from company
testing of a high-speed Dauphin DGV testbed during the
1990s, along with the addition of landing gear fairings.
The Dauphin DGV enabled Eurocopter’s predecessor company
Aerospatiale to set another helicopter speed milestone –
reaching a record velocity of 200 knots in 1991.
Eurocopter flight test engineer Dominique Fournier who
was aboard the X3 with test pilot Jammayrac for the
latest history making flights said the current
high-speed evaluations are providing real data, in
addition to the more symbolic aspect of achieving
rotorcraft speed milestones.
allow us to further explore the behavior of main rotors
at high speeds, and enable us to make effectiveness
assessments of the fairing we’ve added to the main rotor
hub – which will be beneficial for drag optimization
across Eurocopter's overall product range,” Fournier
With these latest flight milestones, the X3 demonstrator
has accumulated a combined total of more than 140 hours
aloft since making its maiden takeoff in September 2010.
After easily surpassing Eurocopter’s initial target of
220 knots for the X3, its speed was steadily increased
while confirming the hybrid configuration’s excellent
flight qualities, maneuverability, outstanding
acceleration and deceleration. In reaching the latest
255- and 263-knot speed achievements, Eurocopter has
further confirmed the concept’s potential.
The hybrid concept’s maturity also was validated in a
2012 U.S. demonstration tour for civil operators,
military services and law enforcement agencies, with
over 55 hours logged and 47 guest pilots taking the
controls during appearances in four states from Texas to
the U.S. visit which more than doubled the X3’s total
flight time Eurocopter performed an in-depth maintenance
inspection that confirmed the mission ready condition of
the hybrid aircraft’s dynamic components and systems.