Eurocopter has delivered what it hopes will prove to be the X-Factor to this year’s Paris Air Show. The daily flying display this week features its new its X3 (“x cubed”) compound helicopter demonstrator, a modified AS 365 Dauphin with a conventional main rotor, two propellers on wingstubs and a conventional empennage.
The Eurocopter X3 (“X cube”) compound helicopter demonstrator is to appear for the first time in public next week at the Paris Air Show. Jean-Michel Billig, the company’s executive v-p for research and development, promised late last month that F-ZXXX will impress showgoers with its maneuverability, just like the military Tiger wowed them in the 1990s when it began performing loops.
The pair of “low-observable” Sikorsky Black Hawks used in the raid by U.S. forces against terrorist Osama bin Laden’s Pakistani compound May 2 were kitted with a variety of stealth and radar-defeating features that had been in development since the 1970s, and maybe longer. The helicopters came to light after one had to be left behind and intentionally detonated after apparently clipping a compound wall and making a hard landing.
Bell Helicopter made the first flight of its OH-58 Block II demonstrator at its Xworx research and development facility in Fort Worth on April 14.
A bilateral project between NASA and German aerospace research center DLR is expected to focus on the role rotor tip vortices play in helicopter noise by recording vortex velocity fields and rotor-blade deformations by using a test stand with a variety of high-speed cameras, lasers and LEDs that will make the vortices visible. Eventually research will progress to actual helicopters.
Bell Helicopter and Van Horn Aviation (Booth No. 1521) of Tempe, Ariz., yesterday at Heli-Expo 2011 put the official stamp on an agreement that allows Bell to distribute Van Horn’s composite tail rotor blades for Bell 206 models.
Concurrent with unveiling its new composite blades for the MD500 series, Van Horn Aviation (VHA) president Jim Van Horn announced the company is in the process of purchasing a 23,000-sq-ft facility in Tempe, Ariz., in which to manufacture the new blades once the building is occupied this summer.
The Pentagon’s Naval Research office has selected Emteq to create a rotorblade tip lighting system.
Eurocopter (Booth No. 4637) and Sikorsky (Booth No. 2737) have successfully demonstrated the feasibility of a high-speed compound helicopter, but using different configurations. Sikorsky’s X2 reached its target of 250 knots last September in West Palm Beach, Fla., and also met vibration and workload targets, according to the U.S. manufacturer.
Eurocopter’s compound helicopter demonstrator, the X3 (“X cube”), met its first speed target on November 29 when it achieved 180 ktas in level flight at “reduced engine power.” The modified Dauphin has also expanded its flight envelope in altitude and bank angles. The X3 features a conventional main rotor and two propellers on stub wings.