Airbus Unveils New High-speed Compound Helo

 - June 1, 2016, 9:35 AM
The Airbus Helicopters LifeRCraft has much in common with the company's X3 demonstrator, specifically a compound rotor system and two short wings mounted to the upper fuselage, each supporting a propeller. (Image: Airbus Helicopters)

A mock-up of a new high-speed compound helicopter has undergone wind-tunnel testing at an Airbus Helicopters facility, the airframer announced today. The tests are said to have proved the viability of the design in terms of efficiency, sustainability and performance.

According to Airbus Helicopters, a demonstrator, dubbed LifeRCraft, is currently being built as part of the Clean Sky 2 European research program. A preliminary design review is expected at year-end and the first flight is scheduled for 2019.

“Our Clean Sky 2 demonstrator will help make speed smarter by seeking the best trade-off between cost-efficiency, sustainability and mission performance; we want to break the cost barrier usually associated with greater speed and range and pave the way for new missions in 2030,” said Jean-Brice Dumont, Airbus Helicopters' chief technical officer. LifeRCraft builds on Airbus's X3 demonstrator, which was unveiled in 2010 and made its final flight to the Paris Le Bourget air and space museum in 2014. The X3 dashed at a claimed 255 knots in level flight in 2013.