The American Helicopter Society has given its top design award to Eurocopter’s X3 hybrid demonstrator.
The presentation of the group’s Howard Hughes award comes as Eurocopter prepares a US tour for the unusual rotorcraft, which it hopes to market for a range of civilian and military uses including long-distance search and rescue, border patrol, special operations, offshore oil and gas drilling and inter-city passenger shuttles.
The X3 features a pair of turboshaft engines powering a main rotor and two propellers installed on the tips of short-span wings. Eurocopter says the rotorcraft offers the speed of a turboprop and the versatile flight capabilities of a helicopter. The company says the 11-seat hybrid has reached a top speed of 232kt using 80 per cent of available power during flight testing since 2010.
“It is important for Eurocopter to provide a first-hand experience for future potential US users with our hybrid helicopter concept, which opens exciting new horizons in operations by delivering cruise speeds 50 per cent faster than standard helicopters at very affordable costs,” Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling said.