EC175 Helicopter Program On Time, Says Eurocopter
Eurocopter said the flight-test program for its new medium twin helicopter, the EC175, is on schedule. The EC175 is expected to receive EASA certification in the second half of next year. The first prototype has flown about 70 hours over 80 flights since its maiden mission in December 2009, program director Francis Combes told AIN. So far the EC175 prototype has reached a maximum altitude of 10,000 feet and a maximum speed of 175 knots, which is also the VNE. The pace of flight testing is about to accelerate, Eurocopter said, and the 100-hour mark should be reached by year-end. A second prototype is scheduled to fly later this year. Combes acknowledged that the more difficult part of the test program lies ahead. The EC175's radius of action offshore is said to be 90 nm with the full 16-passenger load. Cruise speed is expected to be 140 knots. Eurocopter, which is in a 50-50 joint effort with China's Avicopter on this program, said it still holds letters of intent for 114 EC175s.