Eurocopter logged orders for 114 civil and military helicopters worth E1.2 billion at this year’s Paris Air Show and says it is on track to sell 700 helicopters this year. This summer the company also logged more orders from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which bought eight additional American Eurocopter AS 350B3 AStars in July.
Eurocopter AS 350-B2, Meadview, Ariz., Aug.
Eurocopter AS 350B3, San Elizario, Texas, May 22, 2007–The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air Operations AS 350 was destroyed when it crashed after a loss of control while maneuvering on a routine border patrol mission. The crash site was about 15 miles southeast of El Paso International Airport. The commercial pilot was killed and his observer was seriously injured.
At last month’s Paris Air Show Eurocopter delivered the first upgraded Ecureuil/TwinStar, the AS 355NP, its current light twin offering. According to the Marignane, France-based manufacturer, the helicopter offers better performance, an enhanced cockpit and improved cabin interior. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certified the aircraft on February 15. Transport Canada and Russian certifications are expected later this year.
The new Eurocopter AS 355 NP Ecureuil on display here at Le Bourget will shortly be delivered to the first customer, Scandinavian Helicopter Group. The Swedish operator uses its fleet of rotorcraft mainly for passenger transport and aerial work.
Goodrich has received an FAA supplemental type certificate for its external rescue hoist on the Eurocopter AS 350 B3 light single-engine helicopter. Operators can either order the hoist as original equipment on a new helicopter or install it on an in-service aircraft. Goodrich’s electric hoist uses a translating drum and provides a 500-pound load capacity. It meets FAR 27 requirements.
Honeywell Aerospace has spent the past couple of years restructuring its activities along customer lines. One indication that this approach may be working is the U.S. group’s latest double-win on the Boeing CH-47 Chinook program.
Eurocopter AS 350-B3, Apache Junction, Ariz., Dec. 14, 2004–The NTSB could not determine the reason for the loss of control the PHI AS 350 experienced on its final approach. The pilot was attempting to land in a parking lot to pick up an accident victim. The helicopter overflew the landing area in right turns, and during its final approach at 100 feet agl it became unstable.
Eurocopter AS 350-B3, Yellow Pine, Idaho, Aug. 13, 2006–The AS 350 was destroyed and the commercial pilot and three passengers killed when the helicopter crashed 18 miles west of Yellow Pine. The helicopter was being operated by Evergreen Helicopters, of McMinnville, Ore., under contract to the U.S. Forest Service. The helicopter had flown from Krassel Helibase to take a relief fire lookout to Williams Peak lookout tower.
The market for executive/VIP helicopters is growing, according to Eurocopter representatives here at EBACE, but the biggest challenge to sales is still cultural.