First Eurocopter EC 175 Airframe Completed
Harbin Aviation Industry (HAIG) delivered the first EC 175 airframe to Eurocopter on Saturday in Harbin, China. Harbin is the European manufacturer’s partner in the medium-twin helicopter program. The prototype will undergo final assembly at Eurocopter’s headquarters in Marignane, France, and is scheduled to fly in the fourth quarter of next year. EASA certification is pegged for 2011 and Chinese authority CAAC is then expected to certify the aircraft in 2012. Deliveries are slated to begin the same year. Eurocopter expects to sell 800 EC 175s over 20 years and has already received letters of intent for at least 116 of them–the latest, for five helicopters, is from China-based Longken General Aviation Cooperation. The EC 175/Z15 is a 50-50 effort between Eurocopter and HAIG, which is a subsidiary of newly formed Avicopter. The 16-passenger rotorcraft, to be powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67E turboshafts, is initially being targeted at the offshore transport market.