France-based Hélicoptères Guimbal has reached its first production target of one helicopter per month, CEO and founder Bruno Guimbal told AIN, and the 10th Cabri two-seater was delivered last month. Guimbal is now gearing up to a production rate of two per month, and it expects to reach this goal by year-end.
The Cabri suffered its first crash in April in Germany. Both occupants walked away uninjured but AIN understands the aircraft was damaged beyond repair. Guimbal appeared confident the investigation would exonerate the aircraft itself.
The accident Cabri belonged to Eurocopter, which was conducting an operational evaluation that could lead to a number of orders, Guimbal believes. Eurocopter has been evaluating using the Cabri for customer training.
Before the accident, feedback from Eurocopter was positive, Guimbal said. Some 55 Eurocopter pilots have flown the small piston single. As a result of feedback from customers of smaller stature, Guimbal has designed adjustable anti-torque pedals.
In April, the 22-employee company attended its first show–Aero 2010 in Friedrichshafen, Germany. This helped generate orders, and the backlog now stands at 10. The Cabri sells for €264,000 ($340,000). A popular option has been night VFR capability, at €10,000 ($13,000). Other options include emergency floats and air conditioning, both of which are slated for certification this summer.