Back in 2008 Sikorsky X2 had set an unofficial record for the fastest helicopter; the speed achieved was 250 knots (460 km/hour). In a bid to best the American company, Eurocopter unveiled the X3 prototype today.
The design is different to standard helicopters, as it has two short wings on either side that house propellers like a small plane. The Eurocopter X3 Prototype is half-plane, half-helicopter, and is said to be able to fly at speeds of 220 knots. Although this is slower than the Sikorsky X2, we have to remind you again that this was unofficial.
Traveling at 220 knots in a helicopter is seen as a huge achievement, because once they reach a certain speed the rotor blades can become unstable, making it harder to control.
According to a report on Reuters, Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling said that the new X3 prototype would have an added advantage over its competitors, as it will be more cost-efficient. For more photos of the new prototype craft visit the Shephard Group.