Accentuating the positive attributes of helicopters for business travelers, Eurocopter is displaying here at the EBACE show two of its most popular twin-engine models with corporate interiors–an EC 135 and an EC 155 B1. Both were recently delivered to customers.
Salzburg, Austria-based The Flying Bulls, which flies classic airplanes at airshows, owns the EC 135. Eurocopter’s EC 135 order book topped 500 units at the end of 2005, with 87 aircraft sold in 2005 (50 percent in the U.S.). Seventy-six EC 135s were delivered in 2005 worldwide. About 16 percent of all EC 135s delivered to date have gone to the corporate market.
In February of this year, the European Aviation Safety Agency certified new variants of the EC 135 with an increased takeoff weight of 6,402 pounds, from 6,237 pounds. Designated either the EC 135 T2i or P2i, respectively, for the Turbomeca Arrius 2B2-powered and Pratt & Whitney PW206BC- powered models, the new variants also provide a reduction in empty weight to 3,201 pounds and an increase of useful load by 176 pounds. This is the equivalent of one more passenger or enough extra fuel to permit 30 more minutes of flight (about 50 nm) over the previous variants. Customer deliveries of the EC 135 T2i and P2i are scheduled to start in late September. Retrofits will be available to customers currently operating the EC 135 T2 or P2.
The EC 155 B1 here in Geneva was delivered to the Principality of Monaco in September 2005. It is operated jointly by Monacair and Heli-Air Monaco, which carry out VIP flights and passenger transport from their base at the Monaco heliport. More than 60 EC 155 helicopters have been delivered to 30 customers in 16 countries.
The Turbomeca Arriel 2C2-powered EC 155 B1 has a mtow of 10,846 pounds. Its VIP configuration seats six, but it can carry up to 12 passengers in a more utilitarian interior. The model provides 40 percent more cabin room compared to Eurocopter’s AS 365 Dauphin, from which it was derived.