Eurocopter’s new EC175 medium-twin helicopter is appearing in the daily flying display here at the Farnborough International Airshow for the first time. Mainly aimed at the offshore oil market, the helicopter is scheduled to receive certification by the end of this year. Two prototypes have flown since the beginning of the test program in 2009.
Eurocopter EC 155
Eurocopter (Booth P616) is the only helicopter manufacturer exhibiting here at the ABACE show in Shanghai. In some respects, it is no surprise that it is here because it has strong ties with China. The company is counting on growing civil sales in the country, especially as general aviation is to benefit from a more open airspace at low altitude. It is also deepening its roots in the country, with training, maintenance and production joint ventures.
At a Sunday morning press event, Turbomeca chairman and CEO Olivier Andriès listed the French turbine engine manufacturer’s 2011 successes, including a recovery in production numbers from the 2010 low of 800. Turbomeca delivered 950 turboshaft engines last year, and expects to produce approximately 1,100 before the end of 2012.
Eurocopter unveiled record revenues, with growing service activity offseting sagging helicopter deliveries. The Marignane, France-based company is once again claiming to be the number one in the civil and parapublic market, thanks to a calculated 43-percent market share. Several development programs are under way, notably in the medium-twin segment, including the X4 Dauphin replacement, the EC175 and a shorter version of the AS332 Super Puma, for which performance numbers have just been announced.
Olivier Andriès, who has been the CEO of Turbomeca since June, predicts that helicopter engines will become fuel-electric hybrids around 2030. He also predicted that, in about 20 years, conventional turbine engine performance will be close to an asymptote. By that, he meant further improvement of turbine technology will be enormously difficult and expensive, if not impossible. So the next step will be hybridization, he said. “We will see integrated propulsion systems using thermodynamic and electric solutions,” he told AIN.
The AgustaWestland AW119 Koala and variants of the Eurocopter EC155 are the latest helicopters to be added to the list of aircraft for which Tanis Aircraft Products offers preheat systems. Bob Krueger, the company’s president, told AIN, “We’ve been doing preheat systems for general aviation since 1974 and about 20 years ago added the helicopter products. At this point we have about 50 different preheat configurations for various helicopters.”
Eurocopter unveiled improved performance numbers for its EC175 medium twin, a 15,000-pound-class helicopter aimed at the offshore oil and gas market. With 16 passengers, the radius of action has been increased from 90 nm to 135 nm. Meanwhile, the Marignane, France-based manufacturer is developing an 18-passenger configuration, which can be made possible thanks to the helicopter’s 433-cu-ft cabin. The move was likely prompted by the launch last June of the AgustaWestland AW189, which is in the 16- to 18-seat category.
Eurocopter expects its participation in this year’s Dubai Air Show to underscore its competitiveness in the Middle East, as well as the EADS subsidiary company’s dedication to a continued local presence through partnerships and cooperation.
During the China Helicopter Exposition in Tianjin, Turbomeca announced its Arriel 2B1A engine is to power the Avicopter AC311.
Eurocopter is upgrading most of its product range, with the goal of providing improved performance and reduced costs. The manufacturer is reporting progress on the developments of the AS350B3e Ecureuil (AStar), EC135T2e/P2e, EC145T2, AS365N3e and Super Puma L1e/C1e. All were announced at Heli-Expo 2011 in February.
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