Eurocopter has postponed its expectation for certification of the EC175 medium twin to this summer, citing longer-than-expected development of the Helionix avionics system. Deliveries will start in September instead of “late in 2012,” as initially planned.
The helicopter manufacturer declines to reveal the identity of the first customer, leaving room for speculation that offshore operator Bristow might not have confirmed its letter of intent yet.
Performance has been improved, with Eurocopter now anticipating a cruise speed of 150 knots, 10 knots faster than the previous number, “without affecting payload-range” of the Pratt & Whitney Canada-powered aircraft.
The EC175 is the first helicopter equipped with Helionix, to be certified under the latest international avionics standards (RTCA DO-297 and SAEARP 4754). “As a result of its trend-setting nature, the certification process for Helionix has been far more demanding and complex than that for previous legacy avionics systems,” a Eurocopter spokesperson said. The helicopter passed a detailed system-level design review in August. Meanwhile, the first production EC175 flew last week in Marignane, France.
See EC175 pilot report.