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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Eurocopter to Push Speed Envelope with X3

Hundreds witness U.S. unveiling of the technology demonstration aircraft at American Eurocopter headquarters in Grand Prairie, Texas.

By Rotor & Wing staff

Officially jump-starting a United States trek that will include stops in Washington, D.C., Redstone Arsenal and Fort Bragg, Eurocopter showcased its X3 demonstrator on Wednesday in Grand Prairie, Texas. The technology prototype appeared to a crowd of hundreds—including operators, government officials and spectators—following a parade of other helicopter types at the American Eurocopter facility.

Eurocopter President & CEO Lutz Bertling said that the manufacturer would continue to “push the envelope” and top the 232 knots true airspeed (KTAS) reached during developmental flights in 2011. Also joining Bertling at the ceremony were American Eurocopter President Marc Paganini, HAI President Marc Zuccaro and hundreds of company employees, as well as suppliers, operators from the offshore, law enforcement and EMS communities, elected officials and a crowd of hundreds of local enthusiasts.

X3 during a fly-by to kick off its U.S. summer tour. Courtesy of Eurocopter

Preceding the entrance of the X3 was a fly-in lineup that included an older model Alouette, an AS350, a Metro Aviation-operated BO105, American Eurocopter’s EC120 trainer, a Texas Department of Public Safety EC145, an EC155 from the University of Michigan, Era Helicopter’s EC225, a U.S. Coast Guard MH-65C, and two U.S. Army UH-72A Lakotas. The Alouette, which first flew in 1955, arrived alongside the X3 in greeting the crowd. Following the flight display, pilot Herve Jammayrac lifted the X3 back into the skies for a flight demonstration.

Planned stops during the X3’s U.S. summer tour include Redstone Army Arsenal Airfield in Alabama; Fort Bragg’s Simmons Army Airfield in North Carolina; the Manassas Regional Airport in Virginia; and various military sites around Washington, D.C. The manufacturer has set up a dedicated web page to track the X3’s trip through the United States.

Rotor & Wing Editor-at-Large Ernie Stephens test flew the X3 on Monday. Check www.rotorandwing.com in the coming days for more photos and a video of the demonstrator in action, and look for Ernie’s Pilot Report online and in the August 2012 print edition of the magazine.
Related: Airframe News

Hundreds of people gathered on Wednesday to witness the X3's U.S debut. Courtesy of Eurocopter

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