Eurocopter has begun test flights of the X3 demonstrator for its innovative High-speed, long-range Hybrid Helicopter (H3) concept in September 2010, which combines excellent vertical takeoff and landing capabilities with fast cruise speeds of more than 220 kts. The X3 demonstrator is equipped with two turboshaft engines that power a five-blade main rotor system and two propellers installed on short-span fixed wings. This creates an advanced transportation system offering the speed of a turboprop-powered aircraft and the full hover flight capabilities of a helicopter. The concept is tailored to applications where operational costs, flight duration and mission success depend directly on the maximum cruising speed. A wide range of utilizations are envisaged for the H3 configuration, including long-distance search and rescue (SAR) missions, coast guard duties, border patrol missions, passenger transport and inter-city shuttle services. It also may be well-suited for military missions in Special Forces operations, troop transport, combat SAR and medical evacuation - benefitting from the hybrid aircraft’s combination of higher cruise speeds with excellent vertical takeoff/landing performance.
© EADS 2013