Eurocopter (Booth No. 3128) brought back its full-scale, medium twin EC175 mockup to Heli-Expo–with a twist: it is reconfigured for search-and-rescue (SAR) operations.
The EC175 SAR suite includes a 360-degree search radar, an electro-optical system, high-intensity searchlight, two class-one rescue hoists, bubble windows and additional aircraft lighting. Eurocopter says the EC175 is ideally suited for SAR because of its large cabin and extra-wide, sliding passenger doors. The cabin area is sufficiently large to accommodate multiple casualties and an extensive amount of medical equipment, while the doors ease hoist operations.
The EC175’s avionics suite, integrated and designed by Eurocopter, also complements SAR operations. It includes a digital four-axis automatic flight control system (AFCS) linked to the flight management system that provides area navigation and automatic search patterns. The AFCS provides automatic transitions adapted to coastal environment, automatic hover mode at sea or on shore and automatic management in case of an engine failure, regardless if the aircraft is in cruise flight or hover.
Eurocopter says it has “pre-orders” for 114 EC175s from 14 customers. Certification is anticipated in 2011 and initial customer deliveries in 2012. The program is a joint venture between Eurocopter and China’s Avicopter.