Speed matters. The Eurocopter X3 or X-Cubed is the new fastest helicopter on the planet. During the recent experimental flight over France, the X-Cubed just hit the insane speed of 293 miles per hour outstripping the previous world record of Sikorsky X2 (287.5 miles per hour). [See video]
The Eurocopter X3 is currently in under development by its manufacturer Eurocopter. Based on its precedent EC155, the X3 has an auxiliary pair of short span wings each fitted with a tractor propeller. And, the tractor propellers together with two main RTM 322 turboshaft engines and the five-bladed main rotor can give up to 80 percent of the aircraft’s lift. Conventional helicopters use tail rotors to counter the torque effect of the main rotor. The starboard propeller of the X3 has a higher rotational speed than the port to counter the torque effect.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that the X3 is clearly in its element at high speeds.” said Eurocopter test pilot Hervé Jammayrac. “While flying at both 255 knots and 263 knots, the X3 performed exactly as it has throughout its flight envelope, exhibiting outstanding stability and providing a low vibration level without any anti-vibration system.”
Although the X3 outdoes other conventional helicopters, its speed is no match for a turbo-propeller plane. But, for helicopters, it’s absolutely astounding.