The quest for a game changer fuelled the creation of the High-speed, long-range, Hybrid Helicopter concept, whose development team at Eurocopter was collectively named Great Innovators at the EADS Hall of Fame 2011.
The X3 high speed VTOL demonstrator combines the efficiency of a turboprop engine with the excellent hover flight capabilities of a helicopter, reaching speeds of over 400 km/h.
This hybrid helicopter concept triggered many other innovations at subsystem and component level, and more than 20 patents were filed on X3 related topics. Additionally, new manufacturing methods and materials were also extensively used.
Great Innovators 2011: Eurocopter X3 team
High speed to change the market
Philippe Roesch, who was in charge of the X3 demonstrator project sketched his initial idea on a piece of paper that he showed to a colleague back in 2008. The team was quickly convinced and Eurocopter later agreed to fund the programme: “We have lived an extraordinary adventure over the last three years. The best innovations come when a feasible technical solution meets a market need,” underlines Phillippe Roesch.
TheX3 high-speed demonstrator has received considerable media coverage since it was revealed to the international press in September 2010 following its first flight performed on September 6th 2010. It is recognized as a major breakthrough in high-speed VTOL concepts and contributes to reinforce Eurocopter’s image of leader in innovation. Eurocopter is confident that the X3 hybrid helicopter will be in service within a decade.
Did you know…?
Eurocopter’s X3 demonstrator went from kick-off to first flight in only 2.5 years for a fraction of the cost of traditional helicopter developments.