Eurocopter’s X3 compound helicopter prototype began its U.S. demonstration tour at the company’s Grand Prairie, Texas campus yesterday. The X3 first flew in 2010 and can reach speeds in excess of 230 knots. Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling said the company is “well positioned to bring this type of helicopter to market in the next 10 years.”
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. The company envisions a wide range of missions for the X3’s hybrid technology, including military, long-distance search-and-rescue (SAR), Coast Guard, border patrol, passenger transport, offshore airlift and inter-city shuttle services.
The X3 will remain in Texas through early next month, flying demonstrations for potential civil and parapublic sector customers, before embarking on a national military tour. Eurocopter’s hybrid helicopter will make tour stops at Redstone Army Arsenal Airfield, Ala., on July 8 and 9; Simmons Army Airfield, Fort Bragg, N.C., on July 16 and 17; Manassas (Va.) Regional Airport on July 19; and various military installations in the Washington, D.C. area thereafter.