Eurocopter X3: The world's fastest copterMay 20, 2011 by Katie Gatto in Technology / Engineering
(PhysOrg.com) -- If you asked a child how they would make a helicopter go faster, they would probably tell you to add another engine. The answer would be Zen simple and dead right. The engineers at Eurocopter also seem to have that same mentality and it worked.
They took this simple approach when they designed their new helicopter, and it actually worked. The Eurocopter X3 features only one extra engine that is used to drive the additional propellers on the device, and that single engine gives the Eurocopter X3 a significant speed boost. An average helicopter can reach a top speed of somewhere between 130 and 140 knots, which comes out to about 160 mph. The Eurocopter X3 can reach a top speed somewhere in the neighborhood of 267 mph (430 km/hr or 232 kts) in stable and level flight. It is not quite twice as fast as the current copters, but it is an impressive speed boost.
The system does not feature any extra stabilizing systems or ballast systems that are needed to keep the system running correctly. The system does not even rely on an autopilot system; it can be flown by a normal helicopter pilot.
The Eurocopter X3 will most likely find its home in the hands of emergency services and military personnel, who need the speed to respond to the unexpected. The company has yet to say whether or not it will make the Eurocopter X3 available to any private buyers who have the means to make the purchase. No retail cost or release date was made available at this time.
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"Eurocopter X3: The world's fastest copter" May 20, 2011 http://phys.org/news/2011-05-eurocopter-x3-world-fastest-copter.html