EC 145 bows in quietly

 - May 21, 2008, 10:20 AM

Quietly making its debut at this summer’s Paris Air Show was Eurocopter’s long-awaited EC 145. Essentially a stretched, beefed-up version of the hot-selling BK117 (in this case, the C-1 variant of the helicopter that’s come to be the darling of the aeromedical transport market), the EC 145 can seat as many as 10 passengers and crew.

With performance figures roughly comparable to its predecessor’s, the EC 145 can carry an additional 500 lb and do it a lot more quietly. In flyover, takeoff and approach, it scores well under the noise maximums set by both ICAO and the FAA, with a 60-percent lower noise signature than the BK117 C-1.

Presenting an overall silhouette reminiscent of Eurocopter’s EC 135 in the front and the market-pleasing high tail rotor and clamshell aft-loading cargo doors in its empennage, the EC 145 was certified for VFR day and night operations last December. This September it is expected to be approved for IFR operations. So far more than 40 have been sold, with 32 of them earmarked for service with the French Securite Civile.