Eurocopter To Introduce Enhanced EC130

 - November 29, 2011, 4:27 PM

Eurocopter is expected to introduce an enhanced version of its EC130 B4 light single helicopter, with improvements in comfort and performance, soon. According to a European helicopter broker, the helicopter maker has put particular focus on the B4’s cabin. New doors and air conditioning are said to offer lower interior sound levels, while passenger seats will now be easier to remove. Vibration levels will be reduced using a system inspired by the larger Eurocopter EC225, the broker said. The upgraded EC130’s fuel tank has been designed to provide better crashworthiness, he explained, and a Turbomeca Arriel 2D engine will give the helicopter better hot-and-high performance. Thanks to the additional power, the enhanced B4 is to have better external-load capacity, thus giving it more versatility, the broker emphasized. Separately, a European operator confirmed to AIN the existence of the enhanced B4 program. According to the broker, the AS350 B3e typically sells for slightly less than €2 million ($2.7 million) in Europe. Meanwhile, the current EC130 B4 price is closer to €2.2 million ($3 million). Eurocopter said it does not comment on speculation.