The X3 Comes Alive at Heli-Expo 2011

3D film shows the X3 in a “virtual” rollout, and during actual flight tests

While Eurocopter’s X3 high-speed hybrid helicopter is being readied in France for its next phase of testing, it is “flying” every day at Heli-Expo 2011 in a 3D video that has attracted a steady audience of viewers during the exposition.

With the use of special glasses, Heli-Expo attendees first view a rollout of the X3 that was created using computer-generated images.  Depicted at Eurocopter’s Marignane, France facility, this sequence ends as the “virtual” X3 rolls to a stop—with its nose appearing to emerge from the screens toward the audience, taking full advantage of the film’s 3D effects.

The second sequence uses actual in-flight footage of the X3 as the demonstrator is put through its paces along the southern French coast and Mediterranean Sea.

Eurocopter performed the X3’s maiden flight last September, and the hybrid aircraft quickly reached the initial objective of attaining a true airspeed of 180 knots (333 km/hr) in level flight at a reduced level of engine power. The demonstrator is now undergoing a multi-month upgrade to provide full power for its five-blade main rotor system and the two propellers installed on short-span fixed wings—enabling the X3 to attain cruise speeds of more than 220 knots during its second phase of flight tests.