Rotorcraft Update: First EC 145 U.S. sales

 - May 8, 2008, 5:56 AM

American Eurocopter has sold its first EC 145 in the U.S., to the Lee County (Florida) division of public safety/EMS. The launch customer will use the EC 145 primarily to support Lee County’s EMS operation, which encompasses the cities of Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Bonita Springs as well as 625,000 acres of coastal area and barren islands. The EC 145 is a derivative of the venerable BK 117 and shares its transmission and main rotor dynamics, but has a completely redesigned main rotor blade. An improved blade design gives the helo a substantial increase in cargo-carrying capacity, depending on temperature and altitude. The fuselage has also been stretched and features a 205-cu-ft cabin. While certificated in both the U.S. and Europe for some time, Eurocopter’s initial production run was earmarked for the French police forces. More EC 145 sales are expected to be announced in the course of this month’s Association of Air Medical Services-sponsored Air Medical Transport Conference in Kansas City, Mo