Eurocopter X3 hybrid helicopter reaches 180 kts in first test phase
Eurocopter’s X3 high-speed hybrid helicopter demonstrator has reached the program’s Step 1 speed objective: attaining a true airspeed of 180 kts (333 km/hr) in level flight at a reduced level of engine power.
This performance was obtained at the DGA Flight Test base in Istres, France, on 29 November 2010. In the flight testing performed thus far, the flight envelope has been opened with and without autopilot to validate the basic hybrid demonstrator aircraft’s stability and handling characteristics.
The X3 has reached an altitude of 12,500 feet (3,810 meters) and performed maneuvers with left and right turns at bank angles of up to 60 degrees.
The X3 flights to date were performed by Eurocopter test pilot Hervé Jammayrac and flight test engineer Daniel Semioli at the French DGA test facility in Istres. “The X3 has performed extremely well, demonstrating handling and flight qualities that are exactly in line with our ground-based simulator evaluations,” Jammayrac said.
Having already surpassed the speed of a traditional helicopter, the next milestone for the demonstrator is the Step 2 phase at Eurocopter’s headquarters in Marignane, France, where the X3 will enter a second set of flight tests during which it is expected to reach sustained cruise speeds in excess of 220 kts.