Harbin Aviation Industry (HAIG) on November 15 in Harbin, China, delivered the first EC 175 airframe to Eurocopter. HAIG is Eurocopter’s partner in the medium-twin helicopter program. The prototype will be assembled at Eurocopter’s headquarters in Marignane, France, and is scheduled to fly in the fourth quarter of next year. EASA certification is pegged for 2011, with approval from Chinese authority CAAC to follow in 2012. Deliveries are slated to begin the same year. Eurocopter projects sales of 800 EC 175s over a 20-year period. The company says it has received “intentions” for at least 116 already. The latest letter of intent, for five helicopters, is from China-based Longken General Aviation Cooperation.
The 16-passenger rotorcraft, to be powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67E turboshafts, is targeted initially at the offshore transport market.