Eurocopter is now anticipating that its EC145T2, an upgraded version of the EC145 light twin, will be certified next spring, instead of by year-end. Head of program Manfred Merk told AIN that the first delivery is now slated for the middle of next year.
Eurocopter announced yesterday that it will upgrade the American Eurocopter plant in Columbus, Miss., to accommodate final assembly of the AS350, which it said is the top-selling civil helicopter in the U.S. market. AS350 production is expected to start at the plant in the fourth quarter of next year and will ramp up to 60 of the light single-engine helicopters annually by 2016.
A2B Heli Maintenance, an EASA Part 145 independent commercial helicopter maintenance company, has formally opened its doors at London Oxford Airport. A2B Heli chose London Oxford as an expanding business aviation airport with close links to co-owned Barclays London Heliport in Battersea (20 minutes’ flying time from Oxford) and other strong transport links.
Faced with tough budget decisions on new weapons programs, the U.S. Army appears to be delaying a decision on the $6- to $8 billion Armed Aerial Scout program while concurrently moving forward with the potential $100 billion joint multi-role (JMR) initiative.
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.
This year’s Heli-Expo continued the show’s record run, exceeding the number of attendees at the Helicopter Association International’s annual convention for the sixth year in a row. The final numbers included 20,393 attendees, 60 helicopters and 736 exhibitors, according to HAI president Matt Zuccaro.
At Heli-Expo yesterday, Eurocopter introduced a new model intended to help maintain its market position, the EC135T3/P3, which is making its debut here. The company reported a 15-percent growth in revenues in 2012 despite a decrease in deliveries over 2011.
Jet Support Services, Inc. (JSSI, Booth No. N5704), provider of hourly cost maintenance programs for the business aviation industry, announced its new airframe programs for the Eurocopter EC135 and EC145 series at Heli-Expo ’13.
“We are excited about providing the option for additional airframe coverage this year, just two years after providing engine coverage for the Eurocopters,” said Walter Given, 16-year JSSI veteran and helicopter program manager for the company.
HEMS Academy, the simulator training arm of German air ambulance specialist ADAC, has announced that it will add a new Eurocopter EC145T2 full-flight simulator in 2015. This follows ADAC’s order last September for 14 new EC145T2 helicopters to replace its aging BK117 B2 fleet. The new helicopters will be equipped with the EuroAvionics EuroNav7 navigation system upgrades, which will also be included in the simulator. Meanwhile an EC145T2 systems training device will be brought online in mid-2014, allowing for web-based training on the type.