The X3 compound helicopter demonstrator is to resume flights this month. Data analysis from the first two flight-test campaigns has prompted new questions, chief technology officer Jean-Michel Billig told AIN, and the launch of a third test campaign has been scheduled. The testing will explore the behavior of the main rotor at high speed. Some other goals relate to the Fadec and the link between rotor rpm and aircraft speed.
Eurocopter CEO Bertling made it clear that Eurocopter also wants to break Sikorsky’s unofficial speed record, 250 knots with the X2 semi-compound demonstrator in 2010. Billig added tat the next test campaign is primarily focused on a better understanding of the compound’s physics. “Speed will be the cherry on top of the cake,” he said. Billig said Eurocopter has found the perfect configuration (the right location for the propellers, for example) and “has patented it.” He predicted the first product using X3 technology may appear in 2020 or 2021. AIN understands it will be the size of a Super Puma.