at the paris air show, airbus helicopters unveils the aerodynamic configuration of the high speed demonstrator it is developing as part of the clean sky 2 european research programme. dubbed the ‘racer’, for ‘rapid and cost-effective rotorcraft‘, this concept demonstrator will incorporate an array of innovative features and will be optimized for a cruise speed of more than 250 mph (400 km/h). it aims to achieve the best in speed, cost-efficiency, sustainability and mission performance. final assembly of the demonstrator is expected to start in 2019, with a maiden flight the following year.

all images © airbus



the airbus ‘racer’ concept demonstrator will be built around a simple architecture, ensuring safety and cost-efficiency. an innovative ‘box-wing’ design, optimized for aerodynamic efficiency, will provide lift in ‘cruise’ mode while isolating passengers during ground operations from the ‘pusher’ lateral rotors, which are designed to generate thrust in forward flight.


‘today we unveil our bold vision for the future of high-speed rotorcraft,’ comments guillaume faury, airbus helicopters CEO, at the paris air show 2017. ‘this new project, pulling together the skills and know-how of dozens of european partners through the clean sky 2 initiative, aims to bring increased speed and range at the right cost, thanks to a simple, safe and proven aerodynamic formula. it will pave the way for new time-sensitive services for 2030 and beyond, setting new benchmarks for high-speed helicopter transportation.’


optimized for performance and low acoustic signature, these lateral rotors as well as the main rotor will be driven by two ‘RTM322’ engines. an ‘eco mode’ will be tested by the engine manufacturer to demonstrate an electrically-powered ‘start and stop’ of one engine in flight, thus generating fuel savings and increasing range. the racer demonstrator will also benefit from a hybrid metallic-composite airframe, specifically designed for low weight and low recurring costs. it will be equipped with a new high voltage direct current electrical generation, which will significantly contribute to weight reduction.



building on the success of the self-funded ‘X3’ demonstrator, which validated the ‘compound’ aerodynamic configuration – a combination of a traditional main rotor and innovative lateral rotors – the racer project will bring this concept closer to an operational design and demonstrate its suitability for a wide spectrum of missions where increased speed and efficiency will bring significant added value for citizens and operators. this is especially the case for emergency medical services and search and rescue operations, as well as for public services, commercial air transport and private and business aviation.


  • Clever – use the propulsion props to create a differential torque to do away with the tail rotor.

    Chris P says:
  • Yes, Racer is a high-speed demonstrator developed by Airbus Helicopters. The helicopter was unveiled at the Paris Air Show in June 2017 and will be optimised for a cruise speed of more than 400km/h.It include an innovative step-wing arrangement called box-wing design, which will provide optimised aerodynamic efficiency, higher stiffness, and weight reduction.The helicopter can be used for multiple missions, including passenger transport, parapublic, emergency medical service (EMS), and search-and-rescue (SAR).

    Catherine says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

technology news