Turbomeca and Eurocopter have signed a long-expected contract for the engine company to supply TM800 turboshafts for the X4 medium-twin helicopter. The in-development TM800 is in the 1,100-shp category. Intended to replace the Dauphin, the X4 will be released in two versions, with the first, less advanced iteration entering service in 2017. The Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210 will also be a powerplant option.
Eurocopter EC 135
The EASA has issued a new emergency Airworthiness Directive (AD) after further cracks were detected on the lower hub-shaft flange of two other Eurocopter EC135 light-twin helicopters. Repetitive preflight inspections are required and different from those described in a first emergency AD, issued in March. The initial inspections proved insufficient. The investigation is ongoing.
Eurocopter’s three-year effort to revamp its EcoStar was unveiled earlier this year with a strong initial order book for more than 100 helicopters. The company expects certification of the $2.5 million single-engine EC130T2 later this year. “We listened to our customers,” said Janick Blanc, Eurocopter vice president for light helicopter programs.
Apparently, the company got an ear full.
The French helicopter lobbying association, Union Française de l’Hélicoptère (UFH), is voicing strong and growing concern that ever-stricter operational rules are preventing operators from running a sound business and have already claimed victims among the smallest ones. About 600 commercial and private helicopters currently fly in France, according to the association.
Lake Charles, La.-based Era Helicopters signed an order for seven Eurocopter EC135s today at Heli-Expo. With this purchase, Era’s fleet will include 17 EC135s. Era has one of the largest fleets of Eurocopter helicopters, ranging from the AS350 to the EC225. It is also the largest user of the EC135 in the Gulf of Mexico, where it uses the light twin for offshore oil missions.
Highlighting the 20th anniversary of the founding of Eurocopter, Marignane, France-based Eurocopter is introducing the latest evolution in its product line here at Heli-Expo’12. Eurocopter evolved from the 1992 merger of the helicopter divisions of Aerospatiale of France and Daimler-Benz Aerospatiale Aerospace of Germany.
EuroAvionics is demonstrating Euronav 7, the latest version of its situational awareness and mission management system, here at Heli-Expo (Booth No. 6020). Targeting professional operators, the Stuttgart, Germany-based equipment manufacturer is offering moving map systems that can superimpose other data onto the map. Approximately 1,700 Euronav systems are installed, according to the company.
Olivier Andriès, who has been the CEO of Turbomeca since June, predicts that helicopter engines will become fuel-electric hybrids around 2030. He also predicted that, in about 20 years, conventional turbine engine performance will be close to an asymptote. By that, he meant further improvement of turbine technology will be enormously difficult and expensive, if not impossible. So the next step will be hybridization, he said. “We will see integrated propulsion systems using thermodynamic and electric solutions,” he told AIN.
London Oxford airport-based operator Capital Air Services has taken delivery of a second-hand Eurocopter EC135 “L’Hélicoptère par Hermès.” Managing director Michael Hampton said, “We are sure that the immaculate presentation and elegance of this particular aircraft will be popular with our clients.” Eurocopter designed this luxury version of the light twin jointly with the exclusive French brand and unveiled it in 2007, but sales have been slow.
Eurocopter expects its participation in this year’s Dubai Air Show to underscore its competitiveness in the Middle East, as well as the EADS subsidiary company’s dedication to a continued local presence through partnerships and cooperation.
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