Eurocopter Launches Third-generation EC135

 - March 6, 2013, 6:46 PM

Eurocopter unveiled an upgraded version of its EC135 helicopter yesterday at Heli-Expo in Las Vegas. The new light twin-engine EC135T3/P3 offers several improvements over the current EC135T2i/P2i, including optimized Fadec software, longer rotor blades and a change in the location of the air intake.

These changes yield a 66-pound increase in mtow, and improved hot/high performance–an additional 440 pounds of payload at about 5,000 feet, ISA+20. The updated model also features extended range with external auxiliary fuel tanks, a new interior design, Bluetooth headsets and new life raft system.

EMS transport provider Air Methods is the launch customer for the new model, placing an order for six EC135P3s. The “P” versions are powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney Canada PW206B2 turboshafts, while the “T” versions have two Turbomecca Arrius 2B2 engines.

First flight of the EC135T3/P3 took place in August, with certification planned for late this or early next year. Deliveries are slated to begin early next year.