Eurocopter announced today that Starlite Aviation is the launch customer for the new AS332C1e Super Puma medium-twin helicopter, a shorter-fuselage version that observers see as the manufacturer’s response to low-cost alternatives from Russia. The contract calls for two of the new helicopters to be delivered by the end of next year, following FAA and EASA certification. Starlite also has options for another two helicopters.
The C1e is an improved version of the C1, which has not been offered for several years. It can seat 17 passengers instead of the L1e’s 19. However, the new model is powered by the same engines on the L1e–two 1,877-shp Turbomeca Makila 1A1s–so the maximum cargo sling load is unchanged at 9,920 pounds. The avionics feature the same autopilot as that on the EC225.
Eurocopter also said that the new version offers “shorter delivery lead times and highly competitive maintenance costs.”
Based in Ireland and South Africa, Starlite Aviation offers its services to clients, such as UN agencies, for logistic missions involving passenger and freight transportation and heavy-load aerial work.