Eurocopter held an inauguration event last month to celebrate its new manufacturing center of excellence in Querétaro, Mexico. The facility is located at the Aerotech Industrial Park. In addition to manufacturing tail booms for Ecureuil helicopters, the center also makes structures for Airbus doors and houses a new 11,000-sq-ft Ecureuil maintenance facility. Eurocopter has been active in Mexico for 50 years and also celebrated the 30th anniversary of its Eurocopter de Mexico subsidiary. In Querétaro, Eurocopter will create about 200 jobs.
Early in December, Eurocopter and the EASA published an additional emergency service bulletin and accompanying emergency AD. All AS350/AS355 Ecureuil (AStar and TwinStar) models are affected. Although no evidence of laminated half-bearing deterioration has been found on pre-B3e models, inspections are mandated. However, as the inspection interval is 10 hours, the AD will probably cause less inconvenience than those affecting the B3e.
Russian operator UTAir has secured a seven-year loan from British bank HSBC, on a security of French insurance agency Coface. It has thus become “the first Russian airline receiving insurance wrap from an international export agency for purchasing helicopters,” claims UTAir. The contract is for 19 Eurocopter AS350/AS355 Ecureuil/AStar singles.
Eurocopter is hoping to establish a completion center for its Ecureuil light helicopter series in Tianjin, China, next year. Company president Lutz Bertling inked a memorandum of understanding today with Feng Zhijiang, president of the Tianjin Free Trade Zone (TFTZ). The agreement aims at “exploring the creation of a completion and customization center.”
RTE (Réseau de Transport d’Electricité), the company managing France’s network of electric power lines, took delivery of its second medium twin, a Eurocopter EC225, last month. It recently created a new subsidiary, Airtelis, that offers specialized aerial-work operations to third parties. In more than 250,000 flight hours over decades of operations, RTE claims to have developed patented techniques to use helicopters in power-line building, maintenance and surveillance.
Business and VIP helicopter sales are recovering, according to Eurocopter. “After the downturn that hit us between late 2008 and early 2010, we are seeing new demand coming from Brazil, Russia, India and China. Moreover, the U.S. is in a healthier position,” Patrice Royer, the manufacturer’s head of business and private aviation sales, told AIN. This segment, however, is deemed fragile, as it is closely tied to the fortunes to those of stock markets, which themselves remain volatile.
Eurocopter is anticipating a ramp-up in the production of the EC225 and the AS350 Ecureuil by 30 percent and 20 percent, respectively, at its factory in Marignane, France. For “better reactivity,” it has signed an agreement with Segula Technologies to take over the latter’s “structure assembly” activity in the neighboring city of Aix-en-Provence.
Eurocopter expects to ramp up production of the EC225 medium twin and AS350 Ecureuil light single by 30 percent and 20 percent, respectively, at its Marignane, France factory. For “better reactivity,” it has signed an agreement with Segula Technologies to take over the latter’s “structure assembly” activity in the neighboring city of Aix-en-Provence.
Frasca International (Booth R71) has announced that the Korea Forest Service has “completed factory acceptance” of its Eurocopter AS350 B2 Ecureuil/AStar helicopter simulator, a U.S. FAA Level-7 flight training device.
The Urbana, Illinois-based training equipment manufacturer has supplied a 120- by 80-deg spherical visual display. The customized database includes eight scenarios covering forestry flying work and night-vision-goggle capability. A “mirror view” channel provides visual scenes in the mirror including water dump from the belly tank and sling bucket operations.
At Heli-Expo today, Eurocopter unveiled the EC130 T2, an updated version of its venerable single-engine helicopter. It also announced orders for 105 of the new aircraft from seven launch customers: Maverick Helicopters, Papillon Helicopters, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, Scandinavian Helicopter Group, Air Commander, Europavia and Enloe FlightCare. The EC130 T2 is powered by the Turbomeca Arriel 2D engine, which provides 10 percent more average power and lower specific fuel consumption than the original powerplant and has a higher time between overhaul interval.