During the American Helicopter Society’s (AHS) 68th annual forum today in Fort Worth, Texas, the X3 team received the prestigious Howard Hughes award for helicopter technology improvement, acknowledging Eurocopter’s successful validation of its helicopter-plane hybrid concept. During this occasion, it was also revealed that the X3 demonstrator aircraft will make its way to the United States this summer, as it is set to tour parts of the country and be presented to civil and military customers alike.
The X3 technological demonstrator – which performed its first flight in September 2010 and surpassed its initial speed objective by attaining 232 knots in level, stable flight in May 2011 – combines the speed of a turboprop-powered aircraft and the full hover flight capabilities of a helicopter. Eurocopter foresees many applications for the hybrid helicopter concept in the U.S. market, including missions where high speed and long range are a must, such as long-distance search and rescue (SAR), border patrol, coast guard, special forces and offshore oil and gas transportation.
The X3’s U.S. tour will include stopovers in multiple cities, beginning in Grand Prairie, Texas, the headquarters of American Eurocopter. Operators will have the opportunity not only to learn about the aircraft up close – but to fly it as well. Stay tuned in to Eurocopter for more information and to follow the X3’s journey to the land of red, white and blue.