The Eurocopter X3, a revolutionary hybrid helicopter developed by Eurocopter, a Division of EADS (Airbus), has recently completed a U.S. demonstration tour for the benefit of potential U.S. military and other government clients. The X3 is a helicopter that is equipped with two turboshaft engines that power an overhead helicopter rotor, as well as two propellers mounted on two fixed wings.
The aircraft offers the speed of a turboprop-powered aircraft with the hover and vertical take-off capabilities of a helicopter. Its sustainable design speed is in excess of 400 kph, has a design climb rate of 5,500 feet/min, and is extremely manoeuvrable. Potential applications include long distance Search and Rescue, Coast Guard and Border Patrol duties, Medivac applications, passenger transportation and Special Forces applications.
The SDV Division of Bolloré Group was entrusted with providing the logistical support to arrange for transportation from a military base in France to Dallas’ Alliance Airport on board an Antonov 124 aircraft after the X3 had been partially disassembled. A building at the airport in Dallas was made available to reassemble the helicopter and ensure the aircraft’s operational readiness.
The Demo Tour made its debut at the installations of American Eurocopter at Grand Prairie, TX, and finished its loop with an impressing flight over the Pentagon, in Washington, D.C. After the X3’s re-assembly at Dallas’ Alliance Airport, SDV sent all the maintenance equipment, including one of Eurocopter’s mobile workshops, to the first demonstration site in Grand Prairie, TX, and the four other demonstration stopovers (Huntsville AL, Fort Bragg NC, Manassas VA, Richmond VA).
As part of the engagement, SDV needed to be able to ship emergency spare parts at all times from Europe to the prototype’s flight points. The mission was carried out perfectly by SDV’s project team in France (Marignane) and in the United States, in collaboration with Eurocopter in the two countries: the X3 demonstrator was transported to Dallas on schedule, and delivered in perfect condition. Logistics coordination was also handled as expected along all of the stopover points despite frequent last-minute changes of plans.
For those interested in finding out about the X3, visit youtube.com, and search for Eurocopter X3