Jet Meets Heli: Rolls-Royce Powered Eurocopter X3
Eurocopter's ultra-cool X3 prototype (above), which combines the technology of a turboprop plane with traditional helicopter engineering, just attained an airspeed of 180 knots (207 mph) in level flight in testing in Istres, France. The X3, which was not operating at full power, is expected to break the official helicopter speed world record by the time testing is complete. Over the last few months of testing the X3 has performed such feats as reaching an altitude of 12,500 ft. and maneuvering with left and right turns at bank angles of up to 60°. Utilizing a Dauphin helicopter airframe, the X3 is equipped with two Rolls-Royce turboshaft engines that power a five-blade main rotor system, along with two propellers installed on short-span fixed wings. In terms of sheer speed it still may not top Sikorsky's experimental X2 which we wrote about last month, but its stylish looks and jet-like features should more than make up for it.