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Most helicopters are boring (news traffic, etc.), but these three futuristic helicopters are not. While helicopters are smaller than its fixed-wing counterpart, they definitely do not lack in fun factor. Continue reading to see more.

3. Shadowhawk UAV

When is a helicopter, not just a flying machine? When it's called the Shadowhawk UAV. This tiny helicopter "may only be seven-foot long and weigh a measly 49lbs, but it is already being used to track pirates off the Horn of Africa and enforce law on the streets of the U.S." Buyers have the options of turbine or piston engines, thermal cameras, laser pointers and range finders. They can also choose to install taser batons, 37mm or 40mm grenade launchers or 12 gauge shotgun rounds.

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2. Sikorsky X2

That's right, the Sikorsky X2 has broken the world helicopter speed record by hitting 299.2MPH. It "uses a single T800 engine to power both the rotors and the tail-mounted variable-pitch propeller, which provides forward thrust to enable the high speed." Other technologies include fly-by-wire flight controls and active vibration control.

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1. Eurocopter X3

The Eurocopter X3 can now claim the title of world's fastest helicopter, thanks to its hybrid design. In other words, it's equipped "with two turboshaft engines powering a five-blade main rotor system and two propellers on short-span fixed wings [combining] the vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) and hover capabilities of a helicopter with the fast cruise speeds of a turboprop-powered aircraft." It only takes one extra engine to drive the additional propellers, and no fancy autopilots or stabilizing systems are needed to keep the X3 flying just like a normal helicopter. You probably won't get the same gas mileage, but you will get "impressive climb and descent rates, as well as excellent maneuverability" along with "outstanding capabilities for acceleration and deceleration."

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This entry was posted on 05/19/2012 04:00am and is filed under Feature, Transportation, Weird .
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