On 15 June at the Royal Aeronautical Society's 'Future of Rotorcraft' conference was a technical presentation on Eurocopter's exciting new high-speed compound helicopter demonstrator - the X3 (pronounced 'X-cubed' rather than 'X-three'). Given by Jean-Michel Billig, executive vp, Research & Development, Eurocopter, it is a fascinating briefing, in two parts on video. The X3 helicopter is set to make its debut at next week's Paris Air show at Le Bourget. A 'proof of concept' demonstrator it is, says Billig, designed to give a 50% advance in speed on current generation helicopters, for only a 10-20% increase in acquisition cost. The helicopter is so stable says Billig, that test pilots have been able to fly it hands-off at high speed - especially as this helicopter does not have a fly-by-wire system. Be sure to check out a preview of Eurocopter's amazing video at the 8.06 mark on the second video (below) (starts after slight pause) which shows the X3 in flight and racing a French high-speed train! If you are at the Paris Air Show next week - be sure to check out the X3 in the flying display! Missed this event? Full proceedings from all RAeS conferences are available from the Conference & Events Department here.

Tim Robinson
16 June 2011