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.” Videos after the break. Click here for the first picture in gallery.
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.”