Second EC175 Prototype Flies
The second prototype of Eurocopter’s new medium twin helicopter, the EC175, made its first flight last month at the manufacturer’s headquarters in Marignane, France. The 45-minute sortie focused on basic handling qualities and system functionality. The aircraft is configured for offshore operations with emergency flotation gear, external life rafts, a hoist, air conditioning as well as systems for health and usage monitoring and terrain awareness and warning. The seven-ton-class EC175 is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67Es. The first prototype flew in December 2009 and certification is planned for the second half of 2011. The European manufacturer is also gearing up for pilot training, as Spain-based Indra has been selected to develop the helicopter’s first full-flight simulator. The program is a 50-50 joint effort between Eurocopter and China’s Avicopter. The status of the Chinese Z15 program, which is supposed to have one prototype flying, is unknown.