back to article New Euro multicopter aims bitchslap at American X2, V-22

Franco-Germano-Spanish helicopter agglomorocorp Eurocopter has announced its aspirations to leave a glowing handprint upon the bitchcheek of US whirlycraft titan Sikorsky. In an apparent response to the Sikorsky X2 triplex speedchopper project, Eurocopter has now pulled the wraps off its own supercopter design - which it has …


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  1. Dan Breen


    Reading the article, it just looks like Eurocopter have missed the point of the Osprey - a small cargo plane that can land like a helicopter. Or at least that's how I understand it anyway.

    This is just a helicopter, (which coming from a helicopter manufacturer is unsurprising), with added props.

    Can someone out there explain in words of one sylable or less, (I'm at work and my brain keeps randomly shutting down), please, what the point of thisthing is please?

    1. Trygve

      And so what exactly is the point?

      This latest euro gadget - It's a box of people and cargo. Takes off and lands straight up and down, flies along quite fast and not using too much fuel.

      Osprey - it's a box of people and cargo. Takes off and lands straight up and down, flies along quite fast and not using too much fuel.

      It's not really that difficult to grasp if you think about what the think is meant to do, rather than getting hung up on minor differences in implementation.

  2. Steven Jones

    Autogyro mode?

    "it may be that the X3 simply flies mostly as an aeroplane at higher speeds, pitching its rotor blades flat to the air and letting them spin freely. "

    Letting the rotor spin freely would also allow it to gain lift by acting as an autogyro with the appropriate ptich. I'm not sure those stubby wings will keep something that size aloft at 220knots. Nobody has flown an Autogyro at even twice the speed talked about here, but maybe it's possible by gradual changing the pitch and feathering.

  3. SkippyBing


    'it may be that the X3 simply flies mostly as an aeroplane at higher speeds, pitching its rotor blades flat to the air and letting them spin freely' I'm fairly sure that's how they explain Airwolf being able to go supersonic...

    Also is it just me or does it seem a bit dangerous getting in and out of that thing with the engines running? Might make SAR a bit difficult, you'd winch someone up and they'd hit the props!

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD


      No no no, Airwolf has 'turbo boost' and Stringfellow Hawke.

      (cue theme music and howl of chopper).

      Airwolf, being the chuck norris of choppers, would totally own that bucket of bolts.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing new under the sun

    Stub wings, propellers....?

    Rotodyne, Cheyenne - ring any bells

    1. MJI Silver badge


      My thoughts exactly!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I´m confused...

    How does all this prove yet again that the Eurofighter is shite???

  6. frank ly

    A Potential Problem?

    Looking at it, those puller props are lined up to slice through the pilot/passengers if they come adrift due to failure or accident. I thought that a blade that was lost in this way had to have a 'safe' exit trajectory or containment, or protective shielding be in place...... ?

    1. Angus Wood

      Re: A Potential Problem?

      Breaking a prop such that it intrudes in to the cabin space will take a gigantic cross-wise force which that is something that, if it happens, would only occur as part of a much larger accident. It's just not something that could realistically happen in normal operations, hence why normal propellor aircraft are in widespread use for passenger carriage. Even hitting the ground with the prop when it's running at full-tilt is more likely to deform it in-place (and shock-load the engine) than for it to become a hazard.

      Due to their much higher speed, jet turbine and fan blades *are* enclosed, and every jet must pass a test where a blade is deliberately detached by an explosive charge while running at full-speed. It is quite spectacular, see

  7. Jonathan 10

    Title Required eh?

    One flaw, anyone else think it looks ugly as hell?

    1. Death Boffin
      Black Helicopters


      It looks so... European!

  8. paulc

    Fairey Rotodyne?

    Just google it and look at what we could have had 50 years ago if it hadn't been for political interference... oh and it didn't help that the airports got involved in draughting nois regs that made it impossible for the Fairey Rotodyne to actually do it's job in flying in and out of central London... nah, didn't want to lose valuable executive transport to something that didn't need an airport...

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge


      The Rotodyne was clever but I think it was pretty noisy as the tip mounted jets probably got a supersonic flow (When supersonic flow hits subsonic flow things tend to get noisy) and the rotating fuel joints had issues as the materials science was not quite there IMHO.

      Doing it *today* would be feasible but we are back to the noise levels involved.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Kitchen Eurochopper xXx!

    Slicing and dicing the competition left and right with its appropriately mounted double whorl, the new Eurochopper is leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Sikorsky, Augusta-Westland, even kitchenaid and Moulinex have nought to stand against it. At the international kitchen fair in St. Louise, crowds were awed by the way the new superchopper easily turns those carelessly trying to approach it into soup. What began as a great leap forward in urban transportation, has literally tranched the market as an industrial cutting appliance. Next we hope the smart guys at €chopper will find it in them to develop a practical hand-held version for the home kitchen.

    1. Luther Blissett

      Meanwhile out in the blue yonder... you row

      and you row and you row. Plus your mates. Galley slaves - it's what they do.

  10. R Callan

    Title? I'd like a Dukedom [sic] please.

    The more things change the more they stay the same. The good old Fairey Rotodyne of 1957 would outdo any of these modern super-choppers in every respect except speed, and that could have been improved with a more aerodynamic shape plus more powerful engines. Perhaps someone should dust off the old plans and make a killing (financial of course).

  11. modernmarinecorps

    You have got to be kidding me

    Really, this piece of backyard shite is supposed to "bitchslap " the Osprey? Like Dan said, they are completely missing the point:

    " carries very little extra equipment..." The Osprey is capable of both horizontal and vertical takeoff, flight, and landing (eliminating the need for flight lines) for the primary purpose of transporting troops and equipment. It provides the capacity of a C-130 along with the maneuverability of a heli.

    this is an epic fail

    Here are just a few more reasons why the Europeans will be eating our contrails for the next century:

    1. MeRp

      I think you missed the point...

      I think Mr. Page was both being a bit ironic as well as pointing out that the name they gave this thing (X3) is kind of a slap in the face to the X2. After reading the full article it seems to me that he is not touting this as somehow superior to the X2 or the Osprey. In fact, he seems to indicate that it is not even a competitor, except in the loosest possible sense. The only "props" he gives this craft is that it may be cheaper to buy and operate, and thus may be superior for generally more cash conscious civilian type operations than the fully military centric X2 and Osprey.

    2. SkippyBing

      It provides the capacity of a C-130 along with the maneuverability of a heli.

      Does it f**k, have you seen the inside of an Osprey? It's tiny, smaller than a Chinook, you can't even get a Humvee in there.

      If you want the capacity of a C-130 and the manoeuvrability of a helicopter, get a Mi-26 Halo.

  12. Sean O'Connor 1


    I guess those little propellers would have to be at a total stand still for passengers to safely get in and out. Might be a problem if you want to land and quickly get a casualty in as quick as possible and take off again? Or a businessman say realises he's forgotten his briefcase and wants to nip out quickly? Or are they always stationary when landing/taking off?

    1. Dan Hall

      Chopped troops

      That was my first thought--marines pile out of an Osprey or "normal" helicopter during a touch-and-go operation. When I was in service, we often un-assed blackhawks before the wheels were down. The idea is to get the highly vulnerable birds back into the air as quick as possible, either so they can exit the AO without taking fire or so they can go back for more troops.

      I foresee shortened careers for anyone hopping out of the side doors of this little number directly into the props.

    2. Lars Silver badge

      @Sean O'Connor 1

      I would suppose those little popellers are in a horizontal position when landing or taking off.

      1. SkippyBing


        No, they're the anti-torque rotors so you'll need them in the position pictured more so during take-off and landing to avoid doing an impression of the spinning teacups at Alton Towers.

  13. Random Coolzip

    Still a single rotor

    As I understand it, one of the biggest problems with high-speed helicopters is the fact that the advancing blades provide all the lift, while the retreating blades provide very little, torquing the craft along the longitudinal axis. I don't see anything in this design that seem geared towards countering this force. If they're planning to use those stubby little wings, they're going to have to crank those trim tabs pretty hard, resulting in a lot of drag.

    I'm also not convinced this design is significantly simpler than the X2. You're going to have three power shafts all linked together, two of which will be multi-piece units with associated gear assemblies. That's a lot of drive train to keep adjusted, lubed and balanced.

  14. /dev/null

    "It should be nearly as capable in the hover as a normal twin-engined helicopter"

    Well, apart from the big wings sticking out underneath the rotor disc, which I think are going to compromise hover performance somewhat!

    And as for "very little extra equipment"... I suppose two wings, two propellers, and the extra gearboxes and transmissions needed to drive them are going to weight next to nothing, are they? ;-)

  15. Max Lange

    BS Comments

    Re Dan and Modern[sic?]Marine, how low can you go? As low as taking Lewis' headlines seriously? Certainly not!

    Of course this thing is not intended to take on the Osprey head-on. It's a technology demonstrator for furz' sake. You could compare it to the XV-15, though that had NASA funding behind it, not just one company's advanced development shop. But anyway, Eurocopter clearly see this as their entry into the low end of the compound chopper market, not where the V-22 is aimed at. That might be quite lucrative in the end - look at the 178 Lakotas they sold to the US Army, that's the sort of application. Heavy will come later

  16. Joe User
    Thumb Down

    Better names

    The "Heliplane"?

    The "Aerocopter"?

    The "WTF is this POS"?

  17. Mr Mark V Thomas

    Re Compound Eurocopter:

    And how long before AugustaWestland unveil a compound demonstrator based on the Lynx Wildcat, or maybe the winged Merlin proposal, unveiled in model form some years ago, with uprated RTM 322 or CT7 engines...?

  18. Barry 1

    Not much new here

    Sept 15 2010. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.’s X2 TechnologyTM demonstrator today successfully achieved a speed of 250 knots true air speed in level flight at the Sikorsky Development Flight Center.

    What I don't under stand is the prop configuration. As an ex-SAR qualified Flight Mechanic/Hoist operator on HH3-Fs, ex-flight engineer on CH-54Bs and ex-crew chief on UH-60s those props scare me to death. There are a lot of situations where the props really can cause severe hazards.

    The X-2 keeps getting warmed over, I first saw it on the Sikorsky Plant flight line in 1978. I don’t remember what it was to be testing.

  19. J 7

    Fairey Rotodyne

    Westland should dust off the blueprints for the Fairey Rotodyne, they must still be knocking around the ofices in Yeovil somewhere

    Re-engineer it using composites and you'd have something that could outperform any of these

  20. J 7

    It'll be a bith cto fly....

    This thing is going to have a problem in that the power to the two forward props will have to be asymmetric to balance the rotational torque of the rotor. As the rotor speeds up/down the problems in keeping the thrust of the two props balanced to stop torque rotation is going to be damned hard. As there is no tail rotor the props are going to have to be turning even at ground level to stop spin. No chance of safe exit in an emergency

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