Look up in the sky! It's a helicopter, it's a plane, it's...the X3!
The X3 is a hybrid aircraft that looks an awful lot like a helicopter that somebody decided to photoshop stubby wings onto while removing the tail rotor (replacing it with a cool tail) and giving it a pointy nose. It really does look like something a 10-year-old drew on the back of his notebook, right next to Iron Man.
Well, that 10-year-old must have grown up and became an engineer, because the X3 is exactly that machine. Far from being a wild and crazy design, it has been shattering the speed goals that have been set (it has now reached more than 264 miles per hour) for it while operating at under maximum power. The aircraft, called a hybrid aircraft since it is a cross between a jet and a helicopter, will be flying around the United States in 7 days!
I'm excited to see how well it is received. It has obvious applications in the military for support missions, and I'd like to see how commercial and business operators could use it. While there is currently no plan to release hybrid aircraft until 2020, the technology is there and will be at Eurocopter's U.S. headquarters in Grand Prairie, Texas, soon.