A German photographer spotted a modified EC135 at Airbus Helicopters’ development facility in Donauwörth, Germany. Most striking is the light twin’s new horizontal empennage, moved to the top of the vertical fin.
Deliveries of the Airbus Helicopters EC135 T3/P3, an upgraded variant of the EC135 light twin, will begin in the fourth quarter of this year, instead of early 2014 asannounced last year,according to an Airbus Helicopters spokesperson.
The new helicopter offers several improvements over the current EC135 T2i/P2i, yielding 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 Eurocopter EC135 light twin helicopter is facing more trouble after the EASA issued an emergency airworthiness directive on December 19 referring to a manufacturer alert service bulletin that requires a one-time check of fuel probes and, possibly, cleaning and replacement. The issue, discovered by Bond Air Services, appears to be that the probes are indicating a fuel level higher than actual. Investigations showed that the incorrect signals that the probes transmit to the indicator may also inhibit the amber “fuel caution” light.
At the Monaco Yacht Show in September, Eurocopter exhibited a “collectable art” EC135 helicopter with a distinctive zig-zag, blue-on-white livery aboard the 282-foot super-yacht Quattronelle.
Oxford-based A2B Heli Maintenance is expanding the portfolio of helicopter types it works on. It plans to add Bell and AgustaWestland types to the current Sikorsky S-76 and Eurocopter EC120, AS350/355, EC135, AS365, EC155 and BO105. A2B, which holds EASA Part 145 approval, offers a range of services, from line maintenance to pre-buy survey and training.
Director Andy Bloxham expects to service 10 to 15 aircraft per yearas the three-year-old company becomes established. Under its airworthiness management activity, it already oversees 21 helicopters. A2B has seven employees.
Eurocopter has received orders from China’s State Grid General Aviation Company for two AS350B3e AStar/Ecureuils and one EC225. They will be used to support the country’s electric grid development and for other airlift missions. The B3e light singles will be delivered late this year. Handover of the EC225 is scheduled for 2015. Eurocopter has also signed contracts with Japan’s National Police Agency for one EC155B1, one AS365N3+ and two EC135P2es to replace aging aircraft. Deliveries are scheduled over the 2014-2015 period.
Eurocopter (Booth 7050) unveiled a mockup of the executive version of its EC175 medium twin helicopter at EBACE and is also offering an even more luxurious VIP version.
Eurocopter’s presence in China goes back more than 40 years to the first sale of an Alouette III helicopter in the country in 1967. But since then, the European manufacturer has set down much deeper roots in China and the new twin-engine EC175 (or Z15, as the Chinese version is known) represents the latest stage in a wide-ranging cooperation with China’s Avicopter (see box) through the Shanghai-based joint venture Eurocopter China.
Metro Aviation (Booth No. C3511), further advancing its single-pilot IFR STC approval for the Eurocopter EC135 series, has added to it a helicopter terrain awareness and warning system (H-Taws). The company will also add Garmin’s GTN series navcom/GPS to both the EC135 and EC145 single-pilot IFR STCs later this year. The new GTNs offer touchscreen controls and seamless cockpit integration, as well as multifunction display capabilities that include ADS-B traffic and weather.
Air Medical Group Holdings placed an order for 30 Bell 206L4 and 407GX singles yesterday here at Heli-Expo. The company is the parent of helicopter EMS providers Air Evac Lifeteam, Med-Trans and EagleMed. No breakdown of the precise number of each type or the value of the order was provided by Air Medical Group. The three companies operate a fleet of Bell 206 LongRangers (Air Evac Lifeteam), Bell 407s and Eurocopter EC135s (Med-Trans) and Eurocopters and Beechcraft airplanes (EagleMed).
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