The Eurocopter X3 hybrid helicopter has broken the unofficial helicopter speed record by attaining 255 knots (472 km/hr) in level flight, just days after achieving the fastest speed during a descent of 263 knots (487 km/hr).
Eurocopter achieved the milestone with the X3 flying at an altitude of around 10,000 feet during a 40 minute test flight over southern France near Istres.
"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."
The X3 is Eurocopter's technology demonstrator for an advanced, cost-effective vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) transportation system that offers the speed of a turboprop-powered aircraft and the full-flight capabilities of a helicopter.
It uses a pair of RTM 322 turboshaft engines to power a five-blade main rotor system with two propellers installed on short-span fixed wings.
This article was first published on the Strategic Defence Intelligence website. For more information, please click here.