Fly-by-wire flight controls are on the verge of making their debut in civil helicopters, decades after their introduction on fighters, airliners and, more recently, business jets. Eurocopter is investigating all-electric system architectures, including flight controls, hoping to have them in service in five to 10 years. In the U.S., Sikorsky has just flown a fly-by-wire H-92.
Eurocopter EC 135
That new aircraft are often derived from earlier models is no surprise, but hybrids of two separate bloodlines are rare. The Eurocopter EC 145 medium twin, derived from the venerable BK 117 and the much newer EC 135, is one such hybrid. But unlike many mergers, particularly in the corporate world, this one actually works.
A well known name is returning to British skies with creation of a new rotorcraft operation to support North Sea oil and gas exploration and production activity. The name is Bond, Bond Offshore Helicopters (BOH), and it will be licensed to fly.
McAlpine Helicopters is now owned entirely by Eurocopter, which has renamed the company Eurocopter UK. Eurocopter previously held 10 percent of the Oxford-based distributor. Eurocopter UK provides various services, including maintenance, repair and overhaul, to civil and military customers in the UK
Eurocopter (Stand C220) expects the long-anticipated growth in demand for civil helicopters in the Middle East to materialize now and it believes the market’s emergence will have been worth the wait. According to regional marketing manager Xavier Hay, the helomaker expects to sell at least 20 civil rotorcraft per year in this part of the world.
Eurocopter has received from the Austrian Ministry of Interior an order for eight EC 135 P2is. The “P” in the designation indicates the engines are Pratt & Whitney Canada PW206s. Deliveries of the police-configured helicopters will take place between next March and May 2009. The last four aircraft will be equipped with forward-looking infrared cameras and searchlights.
Small but noteworthy helicopter equipment manufacturers found a suitable showcase for their products at Helitech 2007 in Duxford, England, early last month. Big OEMs Agusta-Westland, Bell, Enstrom, Eurocopter, MD Helicopters, Robinson and Sikor- sky (along with accompanying subsidiary Schweizer) were either present or represented, and they had sales to announce.
FDC Aerofilter, a California-based company that specializes in engine inlet barrier filtration, is developing a new filter for the Eurocopter EC 135. It is slated for certification by next year. FDC is also working on extending the life expectancy of its filters. Removal intervals, currently at 1,500 hours, are to be increased to 3,000 hours within months, sales manager Ann Cooper told AIN.
Eurocopter and the world-renowned house of Hermès revealed their “l’Hélicoptère par Hermès,” an EC 135 with a decidedly upscale interior. The project began after officials from both companies met at EBACE in Geneva in May 2005, held discussions for six months and decided to cooperate on a joint project that culminated in the special edition of the EC 135 on display at the NBAA show.
Eurocopter and the house of Hermès revealed their “l’Hélicoptère par Hermès,” an EC 135 with a decidedly up-market interior, yesterday morning here at the convention.
Eurocopter and Hermès officials met at EBACE in Geneva in May last year, held discussions for six months and decided to cooperate on a joint project that culminated in the special edition of the EC 135 on display here at Eurocopter’s booth (No. 4351).