Russian helicopter operator UTair signed an agreement to purchase 15 Eurocopter EC175 medium utility rotorcraft at Heli-Expo yesterday, three years after signing a letter of intent at Heli-Expo 2008 when the aircraft was first introduced. Deliveries of the 16-passgenger EC175 to UTair will commence in 2013 and the order will be completed in 2014.
Russia “hearts” helicopters. That was the message from the Moscow-based Helicopter Industry Association of Russia (HIAR) at its press conference at Heli-Expo 2011 yesterday.
Four of Russia’s leading helicopter operators: UTair, Vertical-T, Pahn Helicopters and Aviashelf provided proof with a snapshot of their operations, opportunities and challenges.
Pratt & Whitney Canada landed at Heli-Expo 2011 (Booth No. 421) with two new engines to display and $1 billion in research and development funds available to invest over the next five years.
“We plan to stay number one,” said Raffaele Virgili, v-p of customer service, “and to do that, we need to invest in the future.”
Engine manufacturer Turbomeca is working 50-50 with Avic Engine, its Chinese counterpart, on the WZ16 turboshaft that will power the Avicopter AC352 medium twin, formerly known as the Z-15 (developed jointly with Eurocopter). Avic Engine is in charge of the compressor and accessory gearbox. The France-based company is responsible for the combustor, turbines and control system.
Heli-Expo returns to Orlando, Fla., March 5 to 8, bringing together more than 17,000 participants, 600 exhibitors and 65 helicopters in the spacious Orange County Convention Center.
The second prototype of Eurocopter’s new medium twin helicopter, the EC175, made its first flight last month at the manufacturer’s headquarters in Marignane, France. The 45-minute sortie focused on basic handling qualities and system functionality.
Eurocopter said the flight-test program for its new medium twin helicopter, the EC175, is on schedule. The EC175 is expected to receive EASA certification in the second half of next year. The first prototype has flown about 70 hours over 80 flights since its maiden mission in December 2009, program director Francis Combes told AIN.
Eurocopter last month released the first photo of the actual cockpit of the EC175 medium twin. Previously, only mockups were shown and the prototype doors were kept almost closed during its official introduction on December 17 last year.
Spirits were high and attendance reached a healthy 15,243 at Heli-Expo’10, held February 21 to 23 in Houston. The number of exhibitors, 596, was higher than last year, and this year’s attendance was the third highest in Heli-Expo history, underscoring the helicopter industry’s assertion that the diversity of the markets it serves has moderated the effects of the recession.