Eurocopter shows off X-3

June 28, 2012 at 3:41 PM
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MARIGNANE, France, June 28 (UPI) -- A European aircraft manufacturer is drumming up business in the United States with a demonstration tour by its new hybrid helicopter.

Eurocopter, which has headquarters in France, said the advance marketing tour of its X-3 is being shown to civil and military helicopter users around the country over the course of a month.

First stop was Grand Prairie, Texas, which is the headquarters location of its U.S. subsidiary Americana Eurocopter.

"We have a very ambitious innovation strategy leading to the first flight of a new helicopter, a new version or a new technology demonstrator every year," said Eurocopter President and Chief Executive Officer Lutz Bertling. "Innovation is not just a buzzword, it's a way of life at Eurocopter.

"With the ingenious design and unparalleled technology of our X3 demonstrator, we are well positioned to bring this type of helicopter to the market in the next 10 years."

The X-3 is a twin-engine experimental helicopter that will fly at more than 250 miles per hour. It features short wings with tractor propellers as well as a five-bladed main rotor. It was first flown in France in 2010 and the company intends to launch a product using X-3 technology in about eight years.

But while the X-3 was center stage at the demonstration at Grand Prairie Airport, Eurocopter didn't miss the opportunity to show off a full range of products with a fly-in of aircraft. Among them: the UH-72A Lakota, used by the U.S. Army, and the MH-65C Dolphin flown by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Other aircraft on display were the EC225, AS350 and EC145, used in commercial operations, law enforcement, medical evacuation and search-and-rescue missions.

As part of the demonstration guest pilots and observers were flown in the X-3.

Eurocopter said other demonstrations that are planned in the United States included Redstone Army Arsenal Airfield in Alabama; Fort Bragg's Simmons Army Airfield in North Carolina; Virginia's Manassas Regional Airport and military installations in the Washington area.

Eurocopter said it sees a wide range of purposes for its hybrid technology in future products, including long-distance search and rescue, coast guard missions, border patrol missions, passenger transport and off-shore airlift as well as inter-city shuttle service.

"It also is well-suited for military missions in special forces operations, troop transport, combat SAR and medical evacuation -- benefitting from the combination of higher cruise speeds with excellent vertical takeoff/landing performance," it said.

During flight testing in France in 2010, the X-3 showed "exceptional" climb and descent rates with low vibration levels, the company said.

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