Here at LABACE Helibras is displaying the first example of the EC130T2 to arrive in Brazil. This latest version of the helicopter introduces a host of new features that the company hopes will maintain the EC130’s position as the dominant type in the large single-engine marketplace.
Having arrived from the Eurocopter factory in France just a few weeks ago, the EC130T2 was reassembled at the Helibras facility at Itajubá. It was painted there, too, to trial a new type of ecologically friendly water-based paint. As well as having a reduced environmental impact, the new paint covers more effectively than traditional solvent-based paint, with the result that only about 50 percent of the quantity is required, with a consequent weight-saving.
Although from the outside it looks similar to the previous EC130B4, the T2 introduces many new improvements. There are structural changes, including new materials, that result in a 70-kilogram weight-saving, while the B4’s Turboméca Arriel 1B1 turboshaft has been replaced by the Arriel 2D. As well as offering more power, the 2D is cheaper to run. Other changes are new doors, with rear sliding units on both sides, and a new air-conditioning system that meets the demands of the large cabin. Overall, useful load is increased by 40 kilograms.
After the LABACE show the EC130T2 is embarking on a Brazilian sales tour, visiting numerous operators and conducting demonstrations for potential customers. Three EC130T2s have already been sold in Brazil, and the aircraft on display will be delivered to a customer in Belo Horizonte before the end of the year, following its sales tour.
Despite the rebranding of parent company EADS under the Airbus name, it has been confirmed that Helibras will retain its own brand. The company serves four main markets: business/private travel, defense, parapublic and offshore. The latter is expected to grow considerably in the coming years, while Helibras has around 80 percent of the parapublic market.
As well as assembling machines imported from Eurocopter/Airbus Helicopters, Helibras also builds the AS350B2/B3 Esquilo and EC725 Cougar. The Esquilo, the Brazilian version of the Ecureuil or Squirrel, is available with attractive financing through the national business development bank as an incentive to “buy Brazilian.” Up to 85 percent of the purchase value can be financed over a 10-year credit with an annual rate of less than 4 percent.