EBACE Convention News

Eurocopter’s UK Hub Busies Itself With MRO Expansion

 - May 22, 2013, 3:30 AM
Oxford Airport’s Hangar 7 is where the majority of Eurocopter UK’s modification work takes place, covering work as diverse as fitting out police helicopters with state-of-the-art surveillance systems to installing bespoke VIP cabin interiors. (Photo: David Donald)

Eurocopter UK at Oxford Airport is branding itself as “Britain’s civil helicopter hub,” and with good reason. Of the 700 or so civilian turbine-engine helicopters that fly in Britain (the largest fleet in Europe), around 45 percent are made by Eurocopter, making it far and away the biggest OEM in the sector. To meet the demands of the operators of the 300-plus civilian Eurocopter helicopters, the company has put in place a comprehensive modification and maintenance program.

Headquartered at Oxford and with service centers at Aberdeen, Scotland, and Hawarden in north Wales, Eurocopter UK is part of the Eurocopter Group that also owns Vector Aerospace, which handles non-Eurocopter MRO work at its facilities at Almondbank and Fleetlands. Eurocopter UK, on the other hand, supports the OEM’s own products, including those used by the military.

The UK’s civilian fleet performs myriad tasks that spans private/business use, oil and gas support, air ambulance, law enforcement, powerline monitoring and many others. From its Oxford base, Eurocopter UK oversees type conversion, maintenance and servicing support across the wide product portfolio. As well as its servicing centers, the company has 20 mobile vans that allow engineers to be dispatched rapidly to perform on-site inspections and minor work.

Modification is a key part of the business, and Eurocopter UK is one of the company’s six main design centers, specializing in external stores such as surveillance systems. Eurocopter UK (Booth 7050) handles about 50 modification projects every year. Many of them involve bespoke engineering solutions that are designed in-house and then installed in the Hangar 7 facility. The company is approved to certificate minor modifications in-house, and oversees the certification of more major work. The modification center has its own flight-test personnel.

Although it is the police and air ambulance modifications that are the most visible, the center also performs numerous cabin conversions, with VIP interiors for both private and business customers being commonplace. The company is also experienced in re-purposing aircraft.