Eurocopter X3 Compound Helo Reaches 232 Knots
Eurocopter’s compound helicopter demonstrator, the X3, reached 232 ktas, above the stated goal of 220 knots, last month. This speed was maintained “for several minutes” in “stable, level flight.” The aircraft had taken off from Istres flight test center in southeast France, near the manufacturer’s Marignane headquarters. Eurocopter said this was only the third sortie after the X3 returned to flight after a winter break, during which it underwent an upgrade to prepare for higher speeds. Last fall, the aircraft had reached 180 knots. The company said that, so far, the X3’s basic handling characteristics and stability have been validated throughout the flight envelope, “without the need for a stability augmentation system.” In addition, the aircraft is said to have low vibration without a counter-vibration system. The aircraft is aimed at demonstrating that 220 knots is an economical sweet spot.