Amid Fanfare, Eurocopter Reveals EC145 with Fenestron

 - March 6, 2011, 9:30 AM

With dry ice, bright lights, loud music, CEO Lutz Bertling in the cockpit and four glamorous passengers in the cabin wearing helmets and flight suits, Eurocopter rolled out its newest helicopter here at Heli-Expo shortly after the convention opened today (watch video). The EC145 T2 introduces a fenestron, new engines, a new main gearbox and what Bertling described as “25 percent more mission performance” than its EC145 predecessor. Four operators have already signed up for 17 copies of the new helicopter. The EC145 T2 takes a platform well proven by the 2.8 million hours logged by the BK117/EC145 and replaces the original Arriel 1E2 turboshafts with dual-Fadec Arriel 2Es for a boost in power that is especially apparent with one engine inoperative. It also gets a new digital avionics suite and four-axis autopilot. The new helicopter’s empty weight is up by 143 pounds, to 4,299 pounds, and its mtow is now 8,047 pounds. Cruise speed is up 5 percent, to 137 knots, vice president Manfred Merk told AIN. The customers that have already ordered T2s are Spain’s Inaer (10 in EMS configuration); Metro Aviation, of Shreveport, La. (five, EMS); Leading Edge (one, executive transportation); and Lewis Energy (one, oil and gas operations).