While Eurocopter remains the leader in unit sales of civil helicopters, its competitors are honing their products. The company’s management team is well aware of the pressure, as one official recently expressed concern about new competing products from Western manufacturers. He stated that they will soon be as capable as, and less expensive than, Eurocopter’s.
Organizers of this year’s Heli-Expo helicopter show in Orlando hope they can duplicate some of the magic of their business aviation counterparts at the National Business Aviation Association, who hosted a record NBAA Convention in the same city less than four months ago. If the success of last year’s Heli-Expo in Dallas is any indication, the Helicopter Association International could set a new attendance record of its own next month.
Investigations into two accidents involving Eurocopter AS 350A and AS 350B2 helicopters led the NTSB to determine that the hydraulic pump drive belt (P/N 704A33690004) prematurely failed in flight. Additionally, an inquiry into the FAA’s Service Difficulty Report database found that 43 failures and/or replacements of hydraulic pump drive belts with that part number occurred from February 1995 to the present.
Twenty-nine-year-old Chana Daskal, the sole survivor of an Aug. 10, 2001 Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters crash, will receive $38 million under a settlement. Besides losing her husband in the accident, Daskal suffered severe burns and had both legs amputated.
Dr. Lutz Bertling, former managing director of Eurocopter Deutschland, took over as president and CEO of Eurocopter in October last year and has also been appointed as a member of parent company EADS’s executive committee. He is the first German to head the Marignane, France-based manufacturer, founded as a Franco-German company in 1992.
One of the helicopters gracing Eurocopter’s static display here at the Paris Air Show is a bright red-and-yellow EC 135 belonging to Norsk Luftambulanse (Norwegian Air Ambulance). The air medical helicopter is the company’s eighth EC 135. It also operates three BO 105 CBS helicopters and has an EC 145 on order, with delivery expected in October.
Eurocopter and Hélicoptères Guimbal signed an agreement here at the Paris Air Show creating a company to develop, manufacture, market and support an unmanned version of Hélicoptères Guimbal’s two-seat Cabri G2 piston helicopter, which made its first flight on March 31 this year.
Eurocopter yesterday delivered its 800th Dauphin here at Le Bourget after the helicopter’s 15-minute trip from the Paris downtown heliport. Eurocopter president Fabrice Brégier said that with 30 to 40 deliveries a year, Eurocopter was looking forward to delivering its 1,000th Dauphin.
Eurocopter yesterday reported orders here at Le Bourget for EC 225 and EC 155 B1 rotorcraft from Bristow Helicopters and, in a separate contract, for EC 135s from Era Helicopters. UK-based Bristow took delivery of one EC 225 at Eurocopter’s static display. Eurocopter president and CEO Fabrice Brégier handed over of the aircraft, which is on display throughout the show.
NH Industries (NHI) has put project studies for a commercial version of the NH90 helicopter on the back burner. The multinational partnership had been studying a civil version of the NH90 military utility rotorcraft for possible application in governmental, executive and offshore-support roles.