Is the honeymoon over for Airbus Helicopters and big innovation? Despite the news that the company will build a successor to the X3 compound demonstrator by 2019 (see AIN, August, page 57), Guillaume Faury (who was appointed CEO 16 months ago) seems to have a more cautious approach than his predecessor, Lutz Bertling, and some signs suggest the OEM will scale back its forays into brave new territory.
Airbus Helicopters recently exhibited some new EMS equipment for the just-certified EC145T2 light twin. Developed with Mecaer, the new cabin installation is available with an “EMS fixed provisions” option. This provides standardized interfaces for customized hardware, thus reducing the outfitting lead time of an interior for medical operations.
Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter) is here exhibiting the Hermès luxury version of its EC135, and is soliciting new possibilities for customization. The helicopter manufacturer (Booth 6613) is seeing a steady market in private and business aviation, with a combined 150 helicopters sold in the world last year by rotorcraft OEMs. Company design engineers are now working on the VIP version of the EC175, with hinged doors and an escalator for passengers.
The EASA certified the Airbus Helicopters EC145T2, an upgraded version of the light twin with new engines and a shrouded tail rotor, late last week. The approval covers the helicopter’s full range of capabilities, the company said, including single-pilot, IFR, Category A takeoff and night-vision-goggles operations.
The certification comes a few months later than expected, delayed by the need to solve an aerodynamic issue in sideways flight. The Helionix avionics suite, developed in-house and featuring a four-axis autopilot, also contributed to the delay.
There were some surprises in the new-helicopter department at the Helicopter Association International’s Heli-Expo show, held during the last week of February, but the big news this year was the crop of orders, especially from helicopter leasing companies.
Airbus Helicopters (Booth No. 523) is introducing a “pay as you fly” component support program (CSP) for operators of new and used helicopters. The program features “aggressive” flat per-flight-hour charges billed monthly and has a flexible buy-in. It includes customized customer maintenance forecasting. The Airbus CSP will initially be available for all EC120, EC130, AS350, AS355, EC135, EC145, EC155, AS365, AS332 and EC225 models.
Avpro (Booth No. 1411) is pleased with the business the company is transacting at this year’s Heli-Expo. In just the first day of the show the company said it signed an agreement to purchase a new Airbus Helicopters EC145T2 for an undisclosed customer. By day two of Heli-Expo the company announced that it reached an agreement to purchase three Bell 505 X helicopters; one of those will go to its management partner L.J. Aviation in Latrobe, Pa.
Waypoint Leasing Services placed orders with Airbus Helicopters for 12 EC225s and 25 EC145T2s yesterday at Heli-Expo. Deliveries will commence this year and continue through 2017. Financial details of the order were not disclosed. Waypoint purchased two EC225s last year that are currently leased for offshore oil and gas operations in Australia. The helicopter leasing firm has $375 million in financing from two family funds and an additional $325 million in credit from Credit Suisse, CIT Bank and SunTrust.
Waypoint Leasing Services announced yesterday at Heli-Expo placing orders with Airbus Helicopters for 12 EC225 and 25 EC145T2 rotorcraft. Deliveries will commence this year and continue through 2017. Financial details of the order were not disclosed.
Airbus Helicopters will kick off opening day of Heli-Expo 2014 with a pair of major order announcements. Lease Corporation International (LCI) aviation CEO Mike Platt and executive chairman Crispin Maunder will join Airbus Helicopters president Guillaume Faury at 11 a.m. to announce an order for EC175 and EC225 utility helicopters. The manufacturer will also announce a six-frame follow-on EC175 order from Belgian aviation services provider NHV.
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