Eurocopter X3 hybrid sets new speed record of 430km/h, readies for next search and rescue mission

See that chopper right there? That's the Eurocopter X3, and as of last week, it can cruise at more than half the speed of a commercial jet. Although the helicopter was striving to hit 220 knots, it actually blew past that milestone to maintain 232 knots (450 km or 279.6 miles per hour) in level, stabilized flight -- a new record for this aircraft. For the uninitiated, the X3 earns its "hybrid" moniker by combining two turboshaft engines that power five-blade main rotor system and two propellers installed on short-span fixed wings -- which, in layman's terms, allows it to hover like a helicopter should while reaching the kind of speeds you'd expect from a turboprop-powered aircraft. (And before you get too excited, yes, this one requires pilots.) While we love the idea of a high-speed joy ride for tourists, this thing will be used for long-distance search and rescue missions, along with border patrol, coast guard duties, offshore operations, passenger and troop transport, and medical evacuation. So no ride for you, but you can get your vicarious thrill anyway with a short, percussion.


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