Tue, Jul 17, 2012
Guest Pilots Allowed To Fly The Aircraft In Huntsville, AL
The U.S. tour of Eurocopter's X3 high-speed hybrid helicopter continued Friday in Fayetteville, NC, where the aircraft made its initial arrival prior to the second round of flight demonstrations for military leaders and aviators in various locations across the country. The tour began when the X3 made its debut at the Grand Prairie, Texas headquarters of Eurocopter's U.S. subsidiary -- American Eurocopter -- which was attended by employees, elected officials, customers and industry partners.
"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."
In addition to providing the first-ever demonstration of the X3 outside of Europe, Eurocopter's cutting-edge innovation and tradition of rotary-wing excellence were underscored by a Grand Prairie Airport fly-in of its product range; from the pioneering Alouette and BO105 to today's UH-72A Lakota for the U.S. Army, the U.S. Coast Guard's MH-65C Dolphin, as well as the EC225, AS350 and EC145 -- which are used in civilian operations, law enforcement, medical airlift and parapublic missions.
Several guest pilots flew aboard the X3 during its first stop at Huntsville's Redstone Army Arsenal Airfield on July 9 and 10. The X3 is scheduled to continue flight demonstrations at Fort Bragg's Simmons Army Airfield on July 16 and 17, where guest pilots will experience the aircraft's maturity and excellent handling characteristics firsthand. The X3 will then travel to Virginia's Manassas Regional Airport and Davison Army Airfield at Fort Belvoir, Va., before it concludes its U.S. tour at the Pentagon.
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, including long-distance search and rescue (SAR), 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 -- benefiting 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.
(Images provided by Eurocopter)
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