back to article X2 triple-twirly speedcopter approaching 180 knots

The X2 triplex speed-copter prototype, gradually building up speed in test flights, is expected to fly at 180 knots this week. The machine has already clocked 168 knots (over 190 mph), a good bit faster than most regular choppers can manage*. The X2 demonstrator airborne for the first time above New York State Turning heads …


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  1. Tom Cooke


    Now all they need to do is bolt one of these to each side of a bigger plane and Colonel Quaritch is in business...

  2. Fr. Ted Crilly Silver badge


    Fairey Rotodyne anyone?

    1. SuperTim
      Black Helicopters

      not even close.

      The rotodyne had a jet nozzle on the end of each rotor tip which provided the torque for the rotor. It only had one rotor as well. That coupled with the fact it was well noisy effectively put paid to that idea (oh, and obligitory government cuts didnt help either).

      Black helicopter...natch.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        It only used the tip jets at take off and landing (for the vertical bits fo the flight), for the rest of the time the rotor was unpowered and two turboprops pulled it through the air - giving it a top speed in the late-1950s of 213 mph.

        (The jet noise was probably a solvable problem - nothing survived removal of Government spending in those days)

        This one with a pusher propeller is closer to the Fairey Gyrodyne (unpowered rotor) or the AH-56 Cheyenne rigid rotor.

        1. Fr. Ted Crilly Silver badge


          Whos been looking at Whackypaedia then eh.

          all true but with hindsight of 50+ years of development time would we ( collectively) still be sodding about tilt rotoring and pushering around etc. and if i remember rightly the AH 56 had shall i say challenging aero troubles with something called 'p-hop' stability with the rotor dynamic stabilisation hardware. cancelled due to crappy 'tow' missiles failing at a shoot off with the prototype HU1 'cobra' . the Lockheed effort was 1/ too costly 2/ the army wanted loads of cobras (with the comonality of engine transmission with UH1) 3/ as i recall reading somewhere the airforce decided that it was too fast and too long ranged for the army, thus creeping onto airforce turf etc. Thus abiding the 'deal' made in the mid 60's the army losing fixed wing battlefield recon with OV10 bronco & OV ?? mohawk and the Dh Canada Buffalo transports.

          And the army has a virtual monopoly of combat rotory wing flying in the US (air sea rescue aside and the Marines efforts)

          Who put a TSR 2 in my pocket.......

          1. SuperTim

            I don't know....

            Who has?

            some of us actually have experience in the field you know!

  3. MinionZero

    Ah but...

    @"Westland Lynx, still holds the helicopter speed record at just over 216 knots (249 mph)"

    Ah but don't forget ... Airwolf! :) ... It was much faster, but with the unfortunate, near fatal design flaw, that it only fires once the tape deck music player reaches the end of a tune. :)

    NEEEAWLLL ... doom da da dati da, da dati da ...

  4. Graham Bartlett


    Damn, you beat me to it! Definitely the best adventure-type TV show of the 80s, probably bcos they had actual actors and scripts. It's a good sign of The Hoff's lack of ability that his car did more acting than he did. And the less said about Streethawk, the better. Coincidentally, the only other half-decent show of that type was Blue Thunder, which also featured a helicopter.

  5. /dev/null


    Good to see this project progressing. It's the only sensible way to design a helicopter really, just a shame they didn't continue with the S-69/XH-59 at the time, we could have helicopters like this in production years ago, and the V-22 Osprey saga might never have happened...

  6. elawyn


    if it goes faster and faster, eventually ALL the rotors will stop spinning?

  7. Ceilidhman


    Not very impressive. Carter Copter have a much cooler tech which actually works and goes much faster. check out 400mph, VTOL, cheap!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      That's another gyrodyne. And they keep crashing it.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still not a Lynx beater

    Can't beat the Lynx which is how old...?

    Impressive aircraft - especially when you see one doing a full powered loop, wingovers and tail slips...

    Loved Airwolf and Blue Thunder - they actually did a good looking mod conversion of a Gazelle for BT, wonder if they ever considered doing a real attack helo from that design...

  9. Anton Ivanov

    Black Shark can do 202 knots without any pimping

    The Black Shark can do 202 knots with a weapons load, no "pimping". So 190 is definitely not a limit for modern helicopters.

  10. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    I guess the take away from all of these faster chopper projects is

    *no* solution is actually as simple as they look.

    *all* have non obvious factors ready to bite you in the rear if you don't conduct a *very* careful test programme (and in the case of the V22 even if you do. Direction of jet engine exhaust pipes on takeoff/landing anyone?)

    Good luck but I wonder given *repeated* efforts to kill V22 failed if it can survive.

    I hope it does.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    G-LYNX does 249 mph

    Yes it did do just under 250 mph but the real point was to exceed 400 kmph as can be seen from all the fan photos still adorning the place (AW that is) in dark corners.

    The article writer managed to give us two lots of units without the useful one.

    It did 400.87 kmph.

  12. Il Midga di Macaroni

    Slower rotors = less vibration

    An active damping system isn't perfect, so it's a good thing vibration will be lower too. Of course running an engine at low revs and high torque isn't usually all that good for it (unless your name is R-2800 and you're trying to do an eight hour patrol in a P-47) but no doubt modern engine metallurgy will offset that problem.

    Every technology has its Achilles Heel, whether it's the Rotodyne, the Cheyenne, the V-22 or this. The only question is which design can be engineered to the point where its Achilles Heel is pushed far enough towards the edges of its performance envelope that it can perform its mission.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    The Osprey?

    In flight that is one of the coolest machines ever... flat nut at low level with the two big rotors going.....

    But it also has the undesirable "sensitivity" for acute balance and synchronisation.....

    If one side "loses taction" - we have the powerslide from hell into the dirt (from a great height).

    I'd love to own one, with a rocket ejection seat - the big spinning blades worry me.

  14. Mips
    Jobs Halo

    You are getting the spri-giro mixed up

    Supersonic is not the issue here but asymmetric lift is.

    So please keep a tight control of your rambling reporters.

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