X3 hybrid aircraft wraps up tour today in Washington D.C.

X3 hybrid aircraftWASHINGTON, 26 July 2012. Eurocopter is finishing its U.S. tour of the X3 hybrid aircraft today in Washington, D.C. This is the final leg of flight demonstrations for civil and military customers across the country.

The tour began when the X3 made its debut at the Grand Prairie, Texas headquarters of Eurocopter’s U.S. subsidiary, American Eurocopter, which was attended by employees, elected officials, customers and industry partners. Several commercial customers from various market segments flew the X3 while it demonstrated its unique flight characteristics, which include a cruise speed of 230 mph., high rates of climb and high-speed maneuvers that are not standard for conventional rotary-wing aircraft. The X3 has already demonstrated a maximum speed of 266 mph. at 80 percent power and a rate of climb of 5,500 feet per minute.

Several guest pilots flew aboard the X3 during its previous two stops at Huntsville’s Redstone Army Arsenal Airfield on July 9 and 10, and Fort Bragg’s Simmons Army Airfield on July 16 and 17. The X3 will conclude its U.S. tour today at the Pentagon.

Eurocopter’s aircraft configuration for 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. This concept is well suited to missions requiring long transit flights and where speed is important, while retaining vertical lift and hover capabilities.

The X3 began flight testing in September 2010 at the Istres Flight Test Center in southern France. In testing to date the X3 surpassed its original speed target of 253 mph.; reaching more than 264 mph. in level flight while using less than 80 percent of available power. Beyond confirming its flight qualities, maneuverability, acceleration and deceleration capabilities, the hybrid aircraft has shown climb and descent rates along with low vibration levels, all without any passive or active anti-vibration systems.

Eurocopter envisions a wide range of applications for its hybrid technology in future products, including long-distance search and rescue (SAR), Coast Guard missions, border patrol missions, passenger transport and off-shore airlift, along with inter-city shuttle services. It also is well-suited for military missions in special forces operations, troop transport, combat SAR and medical evacuation thanks to the X3's combination of high cruise speeds paired with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities.

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