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Eurocopter X3 high speed helicopter

yasotay

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Harumph! I could not take pictures as it was parked on a military flightline. It really is a well put together test vehicle capable of some very interesting things when compared to a conventional helicopter.
 

vstol

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Aerofranz suggested I make an appearance on Secret Projects. So, here you are, the X3 military operational concepts for JMR/FVL -- a smaller attack aircraft and a larger utility version.


You saw it here first! (Well, except for Yasotay, CammNut, etc). These are from the demo at the Manassas, Virginia airport today (July 23, 2012).


I'll have some photos posted in the next day or so to add to our gallery at www.vtol.org/qr/x3.


Enjoy!
 

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yasotay

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vstol always has the cool stuff. ;D
First one is a six to eight passenger and the second is set up for nineteen troops. As you might imagine the ingress/egress is through a tail ramp.
 

vstol

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vstol said:
Matej said:
For the 2010 two first flights were planned: one was X3 high speed experimental demonstrator and second was X4 - some radical Dauphin high speed modification to stimulate its lowering sales.
Thanks. BTW, you uploaded the jpg from "Flight Int'l" of the attached patent as "X4." Do you think it will look like this? Or will it be new technologies on a conventional (Dauphin-like) configuration?


Interesting for me, I talked with Jean-Jacques Ferrier, Head of Innovation at Eurocopter. He's the patent holder for the X3 design with the canards and aft swept wings with pusher props, shown in my posting on November 23, 2010.


He says that it is currently not really being considered because the aft tails it doesn't give you enough directional stability. They are looking at difference approaches that might still work.
 

Reaper

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I dont want to sound so negative, but I really dont get why this helicopter gets so hyped! I mean it is a modified standard helicopter that can fly faster, but in comparision with a V-22 it is not innovative at all.
 

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Affordability - the word, that most of aircraft manufacturers forgot last 30 years. Try to use V-22 for regular every day offshore transport in oil industry (as an example). The goal is not to make the biggest aerospace breakthrough in the last 100 years, the goal is to find the simple, robust and affordable solution, that can be applied into civil and maybe also military market. That's something that the most of innovative designs failed to achieve.
 

Stargazer2006

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Not to mention weight, landing space, etc.
 

Reaper

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and I guess also reliability. I think I just like to see new things, but if they dont sell they dont make sense!
 

Matej

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The day began with a technical briefing by Jean-Jacques Ferrier and Paul Eglin, two of the X3’s senior engineers. “It is quite simple,” Ferrier explained. “We slow down the main rotor at high speed to reduce Mach at [the blade tip]. Then we have a wing which develops additional lift to unload the main rotor at high speed and to compensate for retreating blade stall.” Because the rotor has zero pitch at high speed to reduce drag, Ferrier said that an X3 pilot does not tilt the rotor disk to achieve forward flight. Thrust is provided entirely by the two, five-bladed, constant-speed propellers, which receive power from a pair of Rolls-Royce-Turbomeca RTM322s conventionally mounted atop the fuselage. The turboshaft engines and props are coupled to the same transmission that drives the X3’s five-bladed main rotor system.
The propellers also provide anti-torque services through differential thrust. And to keep it simple for pilots, the pedals control the anti-torque thrust the same as they would in a conventional helicopter.
The wings on the X3 play a key role in its performance. The added lift they produce minimizes the need for lift from the main rotor. Consequently, once 60 kts has been achieved, the collective is lowered. However, this does not cause the main rotor to enter an autorotative state. It merely reduces its RPMs to a point where drag is minimized.
“Fin flaps are used in cruise flight to counteract the main rotor torque,” Eglin said. “Of course, we have less power on the main rotor, so a very small setting is sufficient.” Wing and horizontal stabilizer flaps are used to pitch the aircraft, not the rotor disk. “It is very easy to fly,” boasted Ferrier.
http://www.aviationtoday.com/rw/topstories/Pilot-Report-The-Exciting-Experimental-Exceptional&thinspX3_76928.html
 

robunos

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re-inventing the Rotodyne...


cheers,
Robin.
 

Lauge

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robunos said:
re-inventing the Rotodyne...
And that's a bad thing?

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen,
Luxembourg
 

Tailspin Turtle

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High-speed helicopter is an oxymoron. The drag of the rotor, even at flat pitch, is too high for even 250 knots to be achieved without a deleterious effect on range. Adding propellers, auxiliary drive systems, wings, etc. to make a helicopter go fast reduces the useful load and hover performance (due to download on the wing) and increases the price and operating cost. Adding a second, contrarotating rotor is a way to solve the advancing blade problem without a wing but it not only adds weight but drag. What you wind up with is an expensive helicopter with 1) not very impressive dash speed that doesn't have the range to make the higher speed pay off and 2) not much payload. The Rotodyne failed to find a market in the late 1950s. In the 1960s, several helicopter companies flew "high-speed" helicopters: none went into production. With advancements in technology and the use of propellers integrated with the helicopter's drive train rather than separate jet engines, the latest compound helicopters are doubtless marginally better than their forebears but still not likely to succeed in the market place, either civil or military.
 

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Dear Turtle, I think it's premature to judge the compound a dead end. It is of course the perennial question of "what is the price of speed?" The customer is very interested in the options it provides. It has near-tilt rotor speeds at (perhaps) a fraction of the marginal cost increase.
 

jsport

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Dear Turtle,
..am a non-engineer and would still like to know why Canard Rotor Wing (CRW) and related technologies don't work? please do not include cost as the Majors can not be relied upon to produce.
thank you
 

Tailspin Turtle

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vstol said:
Dear Turtle, I think it's premature to judge the compound a dead end. It is of course the perennial question of "what is the price of speed?" The customer is very interested in the options it provides. It has near-tilt rotor speeds at (perhaps) a fraction of the marginal cost increase.
The main difference between the tiltrotor and the compound helicopter in favor of the tiltrotor are that the tiltrotor's best-range cruise speed is a considerably larger fraction of its top speed than the compound's and it therefore has much better range on the same amount of fuel. The helicopter is already limited on range; going faster with compounding only makes that worse. As I used to preach about those 1960s-era compound helicopters "We proved three things: you can make a helicopter go fast, what you have to do to it to make it go fast equals the helicopter's payload, and you burn two hours worth of fuel in twenty minutes." That last is no longer true with propellers and an integrated drive system.

The speed increase doesn't help at relatively short distances. A long helicopter flight might be 100 miles and therefore take an hour from start up to shut down. A 250-knot compound helicopter will cut maybe 15 minutes off that hour compared to a 150-knot helicopter. The benefit is a lot less at shorter ranges more typical of helicopter stage lengths. While there may be applications where dash speed carrying small payloads over short ranges justifies the increase in price and operating cost, my guess is that they are few and far between.
 

Tailspin Turtle

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jsport said:
Dear Turtle,
..am a non-engineer and would still like to know why Canard Rotor Wing (CRW) and related technologies don't work? please do not include cost as the Majors can not be relied upon to produce.
thank you
I don't doubt that Canard Rotor/Wing (see http://www.boeing.com/bds/phantom_works/canard.html) can be made to work although Boeing appears to have given up on it after crashing two prototypes. It solves the problem of requiring two separate lift systems, rotor and wing, for hover and cruise flight. It might be appropriate for some applications. However, it is not a very good helicopter (the "rotor" is too small and the solidity is probably too high) and converting the rotor into a wing and back in flight is a very interesting aerodynamic and aeroelastic problem. See http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/x-wing.htm. The CR/W avoids some of the X-wing problems with transition to and from cruise flight but it's a still non-trivial design problem.
 

AeroFranz

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A couple of years back I was talking to a Boeing engineer working on the project and he didn't seem too distressed that the program had ended. I got the feeling that he thought that it was a much tougher nut to crack than anyone thought and not worth the trouble.
 

jsport

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AeroFranz said:
Boeing engineer working on the project and he didn't seem too distressed that the program had ended.
The word 'Boeing' is all I needed to discount that conclusion....Soviet NomenKlatura.
likely even lacking sufficient engineering background. ..have talked to some engineers.
 

jsport

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Remembered when the second and final CRW crashed. An engineering friend ..was very happy..was looking if in fact Hughes or Ryan had claimed it was too difficult. Guess the search for answers continues... thinkin it works though..
 

robunos

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Lauge said:
robunos said:
re-inventing the Rotodyne...
And that's a bad thing?

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen,
Luxembourg

Not at all...
The bad thing was the Rotodyne wasn't designed and built as a mechanical-drive helicopter, instead of all that tip drive nonsense.
ISTR reading it was some desk-jockey in the RAE, MoS, or similar, who arbitrarily decided that above a certain power, mechanical-drive helicopters didn't work. Of course, no-one told Sikorsky...


cheers,
Robin.
 

vstol

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Tailspin Turtle said:
The speed increase doesn't help at relatively short distances. A long helicopter flight might be 100 miles and therefore take an hour from start up to shut down.

Dear Turtle, you haven't been out of your shell in some time. Current studies are showing impressive competitiveness of the compound. And remember, the Army radius of action is 434 km.
 

Tailspin Turtle

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vstol said:
Tailspin Turtle said:
The speed increase doesn't help at relatively short distances. A long helicopter flight might be 100 miles and therefore take an hour from start up to shut down.

Dear Turtle, you haven't been out of your shell in some time. Current studies are showing impressive competitiveness of the compound. And remember, the Army radius of action is 434 km.
I was thinking more of current civil use and the benefit of speed over those stage limits. With respect to 434 km radius of action, a recent NASA study (it mentions the X3) compared a compound helicopter, conventional helicopter, and a tiltrotor for the same payload (90 passengers) and distance (500 nm). The compound was to have a cruise speed of 220 knots and the helicopter, 150 knots. The compound's empty weight was 54% greater than the helicopters (the difference was 10% more than the payload!) and the installed horsepower was 74% more, which translates to a higher unit cost. The fuel burn was 21% more (I would have thought it would be more than that; it would, of course, been greater if the compound was cruising at 250 knots instead of 220). The compound took about an hour off the approximately 3+30 stage length, which is worth something. However, I remain unimpressed.
 

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Who the fuck makes 90 passenger helicopters? Is NASA being slightly biased here and tilting the results by calculating results by using parameters which would be unfavorable to the compound designs?
 

yasotay

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Tailspin Turtle said:
vstol said:
Tailspin Turtle said:
The speed increase doesn't help at relatively short distances. A long helicopter flight might be 100 miles and therefore take an hour from start up to shut down.

Dear Turtle, you haven't been out of your shell in some time. Current studies are showing impressive competitiveness of the compound. And remember, the Army radius of action is 434 km.
I was thinking more of current civil use and the benefit of speed over those stage limits. With respect to 434 km radius of action, a recent NASA study (it mentions the X3) compared a compound helicopter, conventional helicopter, and a tiltrotor for the same payload (90 passengers) and distance (500 nm). The compound was to have a cruise speed of 220 knots and the helicopter, 150 knots. The compound's empty weight was 54% greater than the helicopters (the difference was 10% more than the payload!) and the installed horsepower was 74% more, which translates to a higher unit cost. The fuel burn was 21% more (I would have thought it would be more than that; it would, of course, been greater if the compound was cruising at 250 knots instead of 220). The compound took about an hour off the approximately 3+30 stage length, which is worth something. However, I remain unimpressed.

Army radius of action is actually 424 Km (a trivia point )

Tailspin is there a site to access the NASA report?
 

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90 pax is what both ATR and DeHavilland are looking at for stretches of the ATR72 and Dash 8.
 

Michel Van

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EADS Eurocopter X3 Demostrator

Demostrator for High speed flight also know as Xcube
the Program begann january 2008, and goal for High speed Helicopter who only 20% more as standard helicopter



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QECbSxGpXak


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzRzQfv_pW4


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJvstSgpQSo


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkcGNNKp_EA
 

yasotay

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Well Eurocopter is aiming to be only 20% more than a standard helicopter. They may make it. Thanks for posting the video's. I am actually in one of them. ;D
 

vstol

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Me too! You can almost get the same impression that I got when seeing it fly: it's really a turboprop aircraft that can hover. When you see it fly through the canyons, and can hardly see the rotor, you might come to the same impression. For me it was when it was doing fly-bys and then suddenly came to a stop and did a pirouette. It was very striking.
 

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Me and boxkite saw it yesterday on the ILA here in Berlin. It climbed at a very impressive angle, with an
attitude like a quite powerful fixed wing aircraft, not a helicopter.
 

vstol

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Jemiba said:
Me and boxkite saw it yesterday on the ILA here in Berlin. It climbed at a very impressive angle, with an
attitude like a quite powerful fixed wing aircraft, not a helicopoter.

Awesome!
 

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Sorry for the very bad quality, but at least the climb angle is obvious
in this photo and it was sustained for quite a while.
 

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VTOLicious

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06/11/2013
Eurocopter's X3 hybrid helicopter makes aviation history in achieving a speed milestone of 255 knots during level flightThe Eurocopter X3 hybrid helicopter has opened the frontiers of aviation by attaining a speed milestone of 255 knots (472 km/hr) in level flight on June 7. Several days before this accomplishment, the X3 reached a speed of 263 knots (487 km/hr) during a descent. With these two successes, the X3 surpasses the unofficial speed record for a helicopter.
http://www.eurocopter.com/site/en/press/Eurocopter-s-X3-hybrid-helicopter-makes-aviation-history-in-achieving-a-speed-milestone-of-255-knots-during-level-flight_1046.html?iframe=true&width=700

Some pics with new rotor fairing!
http://events.eurocopter.com/en/gallery/x3-speed-record-0

Cheers! Michael
 

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VTOLicious

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It's a pity that Eurocopter withdraw from the JMR-Program. Currently EADS is the only company that has a tech demonstrator at reasonable scale (based on the EC155)
...not to mention that the X3 seems to have capabilities that Sikorsky is trying to achieve with its S-97 ;)
 

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Moose

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VTOLicious said:
It's a pity that Eurocopter withdraw from the JMR-Program. Currently EADS is the only company that has a tech demonstrator at reasonable scale (based on the EC155)
...not to mention that the X3 seems to have capabilities that Sikorsky is trying to achieve with its S-97 ;)
The X3 demonstrator's size has no bearing on JMR. Existing aircraft are a data point, not a competitive advantage, otherwise Bell would have this sewn up by showing up.
 

yasotay

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VTOLicious said:
It's a pity that Eurocopter withdraw from the JMR-Program. Currently EADS is the only company that has a tech demonstrator at reasonable scale (based on the EC155)
...not to mention that the X3 seems to have capabilities that Sikorsky is trying to achieve with its S-97 ;)
Having seen the X3 in action it is an practical solution to the rotorcraft speed issue, but its current dynamic layout has a significant number of risks when considered for tactical military operations. I am sure they could design to overcome these, but I think Eurocopter is also being pragmatic that with Future Vertical Lift being a critical program for the US Rotorcraft Industry, there would be resistance to making a European Prime the lead.
Personally I am hoping that in the near future we will see a 21st Century Rotordyne (except no tip jets) based on this idea, because it is very practical for civil operations from my perspective.
 

VTOLicious

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...there would be resistance to making a European Prime the lead
That's for sure! ;D

but its current dynamic layout has a significant number of risks when considered for tactical military operations
What exactly do you mean?

Just for the sake of completeness: I'm no X3 fanboy...what I see is a very well performing tech demonstrator based on a proven production model - imho the perfect performance comparision and a solid basis to start follow on developments.
 
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