Airbus patents world's fastest helicopter

The patented helicopter is an advanced version of Airbus’ Eurocopter X3, which is currently under development.

The helicopter is part of Airbus’s high-speed, long-range, Hybrid Helicopter (H3) concept. The patented helicopter can fly at speeds exceeding 293 miles per hour. Typical speeds of modern helicopters ranges from 150-160 miles per hour. The next fastest helicopter is the US army’s CH-47F Chinook, which files at 195 miles per hour. So it beats the next fastest helicopter by over 100 miles per hour, which is unprecedented.

How does it accomplish such fast speeds?

It is a hybrid helicopter which overcomes the horizontal flight deficiencies of the helicopters by introducing features of fixed-wing aircrafts.

The overall design of the helicopter features pleasing and well-contoured lines from nose to tail. It sports a finely sharpened nose assembly.

Main rotor installed on the top of the fuselage provides lift. Wings support a pair of propellers to provide thrust in high-speed forward flight. Power for the helicopters comes from twin engines, such as 2 x Rolls Royce Turbomeca RTM322 series turboshaft engines each delivering 2.270 shaft horsepower.

During high-speed forward flight, the pilot brings the main rotor to a low pitch. Effectively converting the helicopter into an airplane.

Helicopter has one more important unique feature. The helicopter does not have a tail rotor. Therefore, energy is not wasted along a long shaft to the tail rotor, instead it is added to the forward output. In conventional helicopters, the tail rotor is used to provide an anti-torque to stabilize the helicopter.

In the patented helicopter, the anti-torque is provided instead by thrust variations of the two propellers. The combination of higher cruise speeds and excellent VTOL performance also is well-suited for military missions, such as special forces operations, troop transport, combat SAR and medical evacuation.

This helicopter will usher in a new age of high-speed rotor wing flight.


Patent Information
Publication number: US 9321526 B2
Patent Title: Compound helicopter
Application number: US 13/950,570
Publication date: Apr 26, 2016
Filing date: Jul 25, 2013
Priority date: Jul 27, 2012
Also published as: EP2690011A1, US20140061367
Inventors: Axel Fink, Ambrosius Weiss, Andrew Winkworth
Original Assignee: Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH