|Sikorsky X2 compound helicopter
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikorsky_X2 )
( http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE68Q3V820100927?type=technologyNews&feedType=nl (
Compound helicopters, for all their perceived advantages over ordinary rotary winged and fixed wing types,
never did really take off, so to speak (mass production as common as other aviation designs), as their complexities and shortcomings were deemed too dis-advantageous to outweight the advantages.
But with the V-22 Osprey's teething troubles finally (mostly?) behind us now and the aircraft having a fairly safe operational record so far (USMC),
and with Sikorsky's X2 achieving (and surpassing, albeit in a shallow dive) its planned-for 250KTAS speed record,
and now Eurocopter just not being content playing second-fiddle to the point it not only wants to 1-up Sikorsky in not just breaking the helicopter speed record, but also 1-upping Sikorsky in its designation (EC X-3 vs S' X-2),
...will we finally see a new dawn for the compound helicopter, now that technology has given us more opportunities to overcome many of the earlier disadvantages experienced in compound helicopter development?
Granted, with the EC X-3's current configuration, those wing-mounted props greatly reduce any tactical utility of carrying any sort of rockets, missiles, or gun pods under wing (except extremely inboard, right next to the fuselage),
whereas the X-2 design's aft prop config allows multiple options in wing/pylon design for carrying armament....
The EC design might appeal finally to that executive civilian sector who has been seen as a VTOL golden opportunity, as civilian aircraft aren't concerned with underwing storage....
Myself, after seeing the movie, I think something along the lines of Avatar's "helicopter", a dual counter-rotating semi-ducted-fan kinda thing ( http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Avatar+helicopter&FORM=IGRE&qpvt=Avatar+helicopter# )
might not be really that far fetched, and seems like it could offer much more utility, provided suitable turboshaft designs are available (as seen in the movie, there's little in the design that hasn't at some point already been tried in prototype form in the helicopter world).
Still, is higher speed rotor craft finally going to become a reality,
or is it still going to be one more Aviation Promised Land pipe dream that, no matter how hard we try and the tech evolves to further refine the designs, we still just will not overcome all (or more than enough of) the inherent flaws that have to date limited compound helis to mostly the realm of science fiction writers?
( ...things like rotor flutter at higher speeds, etc....sorry, no turbo-boosted Blue Thunders or AirWolves...)