New details on the still-to-be-certified Eurocopter EC175 medium-twin helicopter program have emerged, including unexpected Chinese influence. Although the EC175/AC352 is a 50-50 joint program with China’s Avicopter, the Marignane, France-based manufacturer had long made it clear the two certification processes were distinct.
However, in a company publication released last week, Eurocopter acknowledged that some of the certification testing was conducted only in China. “The EASA had to work closely with its Chinese counterpart, the CAAC, due to the fact that the EC175 was developed through a joint venture with China,” the document said.
Certification of the oil and gas version, with all its optional equipment, is expected in the coming months. The first delivery is pegged for the fourth quarter, at least one year later than expected at the beginning of the program. Previously explaining the delay, Eurocopter officials had cited better-than-hoped performance–in speed and range–and the new Helionix avionics suite. Separately, the first EC175 flight simulator will be available for training next spring.