May 18, 2011
By Alton K. Marsh
The Eurocopter X3 has achieved 232 knots true airspeed in recent tests conducted in Istres, France. The speed was achieved in stable, level flight, surpassing an original goal of 220 KTAS. The design will be incorporated in future commercial helicopters. Testing will continue through 2011.
“Eurocopter’s teams have once again shown their ability to apply innovation as a cornerstone of our strategy in remaining the helicopter industry leader,” said Lutz Bertling, Eurocopter president and CEO. “Future helicopters incorporating the X3 configuration will offer our customers about 50 percent more cruise speed and range at very affordable costs, therefore defining the future of high productivity rotary-wing aircraft.”
“We were impressed by the ease at which this speed objective was attained,” test pilot Hervé Jammayrac said. “The X3 handles extremely well, demonstrating remarkable stability at high speed--even with the autopilot off. We are very proud of this achievement, which results from the dedicated efforts of all those who have worked on the project.”
The hybrid helicopter, with two propellers, uses a Eurocopter Dauphin helicopter airframe equipped with two turboshaft engines that power a five-blade main rotor system and the propellers. The company claims it’s like combining the speed of a turboprop aircraft with full hover capability.
In the meantime, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has joined with Boeing in a concept for another high-speed aircraft with hover capability. The concept combines ducted fan engines for forward flight with a retractable rotorblade system for hovering flight. Rotor blades retreat into a large hub, and the hub is stopped, when in forward flight. A 20-percent scale model is to be tested this year in a wind tunnel.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
As the cold weather chills AOPA’s Headquarters in Frederick, many of us are inside generating new resources for flying clubs.
In my house, every Friday night is “Movie Night.” While the movies are rarely educational (I don’t think I learned anything from the Lego Movie), we look forward to the weekly opportunity to spend time together. Why not use the same concept for your Flying Club (with the addition of education, of course)?
AOPA Flying Club Manager Kelby Ferwerda posted the following on the AOPA Flying Club Facebook Page: “Recently I’ve talked with quite a few Flying Clubs about maintaining social activity through the cold winter months. Some clubs host Holliday Parties, others have Potluck Movie Nights. What does your club do to keep members involved during the chilly months?”
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