Eurocopter X3

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ila12 X3 0600 b1.jpg
Eurocopter X³ in flight
Role Experimental compound helicopter
Manufacturer Eurocopter
First flight 6 September 2010
Status In museum
Number built 1
Developed from Eurocopter EC155

The Eurocopter X³ (X-Cubed) is an experimental high-speed compound helicopter developed by Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters). A technology demonstration platform for Eurocopter "high-speed, long-range hybrid helicopter" or H³ concept,[1] the X³ achieved 255 knots in level flight on 7 June 2013, setting an unofficial speed record for a helicopter.[2][3]

Design and development[edit]

Eurocopter X³

Technology[edit]

The X³ demonstrator is based on the Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin[1] helicopter, with the addition of short span wings each fitted with a tractor propeller, having different pitch to counter the torque effect of the main rotor.[1][4][5] Conventional helicopters use tail rotors to counter the torque effect.[6] The tractor propellers are gear driven from the two main turboshaft engines which also drive the five-bladed main rotor system, taken from an Eurocopter EC155.[1][5]

Guest pilots describe the X³ flight as smooth,[5][7] but the X³ does not have passive or active anti-vibration systems and can fly without stability augmentation systems,[1][8] unlike the Sikorsky X2.[9] The helicopter is designed to prove the concept of a high-speed helicopter which depends on slowing the rotor speed[5] (by 15%)[1] to avoid drag from the advancing blade tip, and to avoid retreating blade stall by unloading the rotor while a small wing[10][11][12] provides 40–80% lift instead.[1][13][14][5] The X³ can hover with a pitch attitude between minus 10 and plus 15 degrees.[15] Its bank range is 40 degrees in hover, and is capable of flying at bank angles of 120 to 140 degrees.[16][17] During testing the aircraft demonstrated a rate of climb of 5,500 feet per minute and high-G turn rates of 2Gs at 210 knots.[18][19]

Performance[edit]

The X³ first flew on 6 September 2010 from French Délégation Générale de l'Armement facility at Istres-Le Tubé Air Base.[citation needed]

On 12 May 2011 the X³ demonstrated a speed of 232 knots (267 mph; 430 km/h) while using less than 80 percent of available power.[8][20][21][22][23]

In May 2012, it was announced that the Eurocopter X³ development team had received the American Helicopter Society's Howard Hughes Award for 2012.[24]

Eurocopter demonstrated the X³ in the United States during the summer of 2012, the aircraft logging 55 flight hours, with a number of commercial and military operators being given the opportunity to fly the aircraft.[25]

With an aerodynamic fairing installed on the rotor head,[26] the X³ demonstrated a speed of 255 knots (293 mph; 472 km/h) in level flight and 263 knots (303 mph; 487 km/h) in a shallow dive on 7 June 2013,[27][28] beating the Sikorsky X2's unofficial record set in September 2010, and thus becoming the world's fastest non-jet augmented compound helicopter.

Variants[edit]

Eurocopter/Airbus Helicopters has suggested that a production H³ application could appear as soon as 2020.[25] The company had also previously expressed an interest in offering an H³ technology based solution for the United States' Future Vertical Lift program, with EADS North America submitting bid to build a technology demonstrator under the US Army's Joint Multi Role (JMR) program,[29][30] but later withdrew due to cost[31] and because Eurocopter might have to transfer X³ intellectual property to the US,[32] and Eurocopter chose to focus on the Armed Aerial Scout instead.[33][34] Ultimately the company was not downselected for the JMR effort,[35] and the AAS program was cancelled.[36]

Eurocopter sees the offshore oil market[31] and Search and rescue community as potential customers for X³ technology. An X³-based unpressurized compound helicopter called LifeRCraft is also among the projects planned under the European Union's €4 billion ($5.44 billion) Clean Sky 2 research program as one of two high-speed rotorcraft flight demonstrators.[26][37][38][39] Airbus began development in 2014,[40] and plans to fly it in 2019.[41]

The X³ was moved to Musée de l'Air in 2014 for public display.[42]

Specifications[edit]

Eurocopter X³ at ILA Berlin Air Show 2012

Data from FlightGlobal[43]; no other specifications have been released by Eurocopter.

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Gross weight: 5,200 kg (11,464 lb) [42]
  • Powerplant: 2 × Rolls-Royce Turbomeca RTM322-01/9a[44] turboshaft engines, 1,693 kW (2,270 hp) each
  • Main rotor diameter: 12.6 m (41 ft 4 in)
  • Main rotor area: 124.7 m2 (1,342 sq ft)
  • Propellers: 2-bladed five-bladed tractor propellers gear driven from main engines.

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 472 km/h; 293 mph (255 kn) at roughly 10,000 ft (3,048 m)[28]
  • Cruising speed: 407 km/h (253 mph; 220 kn) [20]
  • Service ceiling: 3,810 m (12,500 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 28 m/s (5,500 ft/min) [46][47][48]
  • Tip speed: 0.91 Mach[5]
  • Autorotation: 2,800 f.p.m[5]

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Nelms, Douglas (9 July 2012), "Aviation Week Flies Eurocopter’s X³", Aviation Week & Space Technology, archived from the original on May 10, 2014, retrieved 10 May 2014 .
  2. ^ "Eurocopter's X³ hybrid helicopter makes aviation history in achieving a speed milestone of 255 knots during level flight", Helicopters (press release), Airbus .
  3. ^ Meet the World's Fastest Helicopter: The 293-Mph X³ (video), Bloomberg, 20 June 2013 .
  4. ^ "An Update on the X3: A Conversation with Hervé Jammayrac" Second Line of Defense, 2011. Accessed: 5 September 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Erdos, Robert. "Flying the Future" Vertical (Magazine), 10 August 2012. Accessed: 5 September 2014. Archive
  6. ^ "Eurocopter X³ (X Cubed) Experimental Compound Helicopter". Military Factory. 17 July 2011. Archived from the original on Apr 13, 2014. .
  7. ^ Singing the X³'s praises (video) (press release), Airbus, 26 June 2012, retrieved 10 May 2014 .
  8. ^ a b "The Eurocopter X³ hybrid helicopter exceeds its speed challenge: 232 knots (430 km/h) attained in level, stabilized flight", Eurocopter, Airbus helicopters, 16 May 2011, retrieved 10 May 2014 .
  9. ^ Goodier, Rob (20 September 2010). "Inside Sikorsky's Speed-Record-Breaking Helicopter Technology". Popular Mechanics. Archived from the original on Oct 17, 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2014. .
  10. ^ "The X³ concept", Helicopters, Airbus, retrieved May 9, 2014 .
  11. ^ Video 1, 2 (Google You tube) (video), Airbus Helicopters, 2 m 50 s, retrieved 9 May 2014 .
  12. ^ Stephens, Ernie (1 August 2012), "Pilot Report: The Exciting, Experimental, Exceptional X³", Rotor & Wing, archived from the original on Sep 15, 2012, retrieved 10 May 2014 .
  13. ^ Eshel, Noam (6 September 2010), "Eurocopter Tests the X-Cubed, a New High-speed Hybrid Helicopter", Defense Update, archived from the original on Oct 24, 2013, retrieved 10 May 2014 .
  14. ^ Norris, Guy (28 February 2012), "Eurocopter X-3 Targets US Market", Aviation Week, retrieved 1 March 2012 . Mirror.
  15. ^ Padfield, R Randall (3 August 2013), "Eurocopter X³ ‘Flies Intuitively,’ Say Test Pilots", AIN online, archived from the original on Aug 6, 2013, retrieved 10 May 2014 .
  16. ^ Parsons, Dan, "Eurocopter's X³ Shows Old Designs Could Be The Future of Army Aviation", National defense magazine .
  17. ^ Gubisch, Michael, Eurocopter's X³ restricted by US regulations, Farnborough: Flight global .
  18. ^ Eurocopter's Revolutionary X³ Helicopter Continues Military Leg of Its US Tour, Reuters, Jul 13, 2012 .
  19. ^ "Eurocopter X³ Approaches the Sunset of its Brief Life", Aviation today .
  20. ^ a b "Flight testing of Eurocopter’s X³ high-speed hybrid helicopter demonstrator marks a new milestone in the company’s innovation roadmap". Eurocopter. 27 September 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2010. 
  21. ^ Eurocopters Hybridhubschrauber X³ übertrifft sein angestrebtes Geschwindigkeitsziel: 232 Knoten (430 km/h) bei stabilem Horizontalflug [Eurocopter's hybrid helicopter X³ surpasses its attempted speed target: 232 knots (430 km/h) with a stable horizontal flight] (in German), Presse Box, 2011-05-16, retrieved 2011-06-07 
  22. ^ "L’Hélicoptère de démonstration X³ atteint les 430km/h !" [The demonstration helicopter X³ reaches 430 km/h!]. Avia News (in French). 24 Heures. 
  23. ^ "Le X³ d'Eurocopter a volé à 430 km/h" [Eurocopter’s X³ flew at 430 km/h]. Zone Militaire (in French). Opex 360. 
  24. ^ Eurocopter’s X Development Team wins Howard Hughes Award for Outstanding Improvement in Helicopter Technology (press release), Airbus, May 3, 2012 .
  25. ^ a b Norris, Guy (14 February 2012). "Eurocopter Outlines Plans For X4 Program". Aviation Week. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  26. ^ a b Osborne, Tony. "Eurocopter Ponders X³ Helicopter’s Next Steps" Aviation Week & Space Technology, 17 June 2013. Accessed: 17 June 2014. Archived on 13 May 2014.
  27. ^ Thivent, Viviane (11 June 2013), "Le X³, un hélico à 472 km/h" [The X³, a helicopter at 472 km/h], Le Monde, retrieved 10 May 2014 .
  28. ^ a b Paur, Jason. "X³ Helicopter Sets Speed Record at Nearly 300 MPH" Wired (magazine), 11 June 2013. Accessed 17 June 2014. Archived on 31 March 2014
  29. ^ Warwick, Graham (30 July 2012), "Eurocopter's X3 — Would You Go to War in One?", Aviation Week & Space Technology, archived from the original on May 10, 2014, retrieved 10 May 2014 .
  30. ^ Warwick, Graham (11 March 2013), "EADS (ie Eurocopter) Bids for Army's JMR", Aviation Week & Space Technology, archived from the original on May 13, 2014, retrieved 17 June 2014 .
  31. ^ a b Majumdar, Dave. "Cost drove EADS from US Army rotorcraft demonstration" 13 June 2013. Accessed: 17 June 2014. Archived on 12 May 2014
  32. ^ "Intellectual Property Concerns Swayed EADS JMR Pullout", Aviation Week & Space Technology, 24 June 2013, retrieved 17 June 2014, Guillaume Faury said the company made the ’strategic decision’ because it was concerned that it would have to transfer the intellectual property rights of the company’s self-developed X³ technology to the US. 
  33. ^ Warwick, Graham. "EADS Withdraws JMR Bid To Focus On AAS" Aviation Week & Space Technology, 4 June 2013. Accessed: 17 June 2014. Archive
  34. ^ "EADS Quits Helo Competition To Pursue Uncertain AAS" Aviation Week & Space Technology, 10 June 2013. Accessed: 17 June 2014. Archive
  35. ^ US Army selects Bell, Sikorsky/Boeing team for JMR demonstration, Flight global .
  36. ^ McLeary, Paul. "Outgoing General: US Army Must Continue To Fund Research and Development" DefenseNews, 14 January 2014. Accessed: 17 June 2014.
  37. ^ A Preliminary Programme Outline For Clean Sky 2 (PDF), EU: Clean sky, July 2012 . Size 2 MB.
  38. ^ Dubois, Thierry (3 August 2014). "European Commission, Industry Launch Clean Sky 2". Aviation International News. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  39. ^ "8.7 Compound Rotorcraft Demonstration (LifeRCraft) - WP2" pages 302-375. Size: 747 pages, 23 MB. Clean Sky 2, 27 June 2014. Accessed: 7 October 2014.
  40. ^ Sailer, J. "Airbus Helicopters to design new compound rotorcraft demonstrator in the frame of Clean Sky 2 program" Airbus PR, 16 July 2014. Accessed: 22 July 2014.
  41. ^ Dubois, Thierry (22 July 2014). "Airbus Helicopters Plans Follow-on to X3". Aviation International News. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  42. ^ a b Airbus Helicopters X³ makes its new home at France's national Air and Space museum (press release), Airbus, 19 June 2014, archived from the original on Jun 19, 2014, retrieved 19 June 2014 .
  43. ^ Croft, John (23 February 2009). "Heli-expo 2009: Rolls-Royce confirms role in Eurocopter X³ programme". Flight Global. Retrieved 28 September 2010. 
  44. ^ "The RTM322 shared a speed record with X³", Le Bourget, Safran .
  45. ^ "Airbus Helicopters Dauphin EC155 Characteristics", Specifications, Airbus Helicopters, retrieved 17 June 2014 .
  46. ^ "Eurocopter’s revolutionary X³ helicopter begins military leg of its US tour", Helicopters, Airbus .
  47. ^ Dubois, Thierry (August 2011), "Eurocopter Launches Dauphin Replacement; Preps for X³", Aviation Today, retrieved 31 March 2012 .
  48. ^ Dubois, Thierry; Huber, Mark (February 2012), "New Rotorcraft 2012" (PDF), Aviation International, retrieved 31 March 2012 .
  49. ^ a b Green, Ronald D (March 2011), Flight Plan 2011 – Analysis of the US Aerospace Industry, Rotorcraft Developments (PDF), U.S. Department of Commerce/International Trade Administration, p. 18, retrieved 2 March 2012 .
  50. ^ Warwick, Graham. "Eurocopter's X³ – Son of Rotodyne?" Aviation Week & Space Technology, 30 July 2012. Accessed 10 May 2014.

External links[edit]