Eurocopter Flies Secret X2 Helo, a Ecureuil Replacement
Last month in Marignane, France, Eurocopter quietly flew the first prototype of a helicopter that is to replace the EC130 light single and possibly the entire Ecureuil family, Jean-Michel Billig, the companyπs executive vice president for research and development, told AIN yesterday. The program is codenamed X2, although it has no relationship with Sikorskyπs technology demonstrator of the same name. Certification is planned for 2013. The aircraft will feature a new avionics suite, internally known as Cigalhe, that will introduce four-axis autopilots to light helicopters. Cigalhe is essentially an integrated, modular architecture. It will be first certified on the EC175 medium twin next year. Following will be the EC135, the EC145T2, the (Eurocopter) X2 and then the X4 Dauphin replacement, Billig said. For the pilot, AIN understands a notable innovation on Cigalhe will be in symbology. The entry-level EC120 will not be fitted with the new avionics, which would have been too heavy for the type, according to Billig.