EC145 not just a helo, it’s a Mercedes-Benz
Eurocopter yesterday unveiled the EC145 Mercedes-Benz Style, a version of the light twin helicopter that features aesthetic and practical innovations, both inside the cabin and on the exterior. The cabin can seat up to eight passengers in a comfortable business layout. For more casual outings, passenger seating can be reduced to four places to accommodate surfboards or mountain bikes.
The first fully fitted EC145 Mercedes-Benz Style will fly in August or September, according to Michele Paganetti, general manager of the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Studio in Como, Italy, which designed the completion. The first delivery is expected in the fourth quarter of 2011.
The new aircraft is priced at around $8 million, which is close to the price of the smaller EC135 Hermès. “The EC145 Mercedes-Benz Style does not have the same degree of exclusivity [as the Hermès]; it is more about functionality,” Olivier Lambert, senior vice president of Eurocopter sales and customer relations, told AIN.
The cabin seats are mounted on rails to facilitate configuration changes.
“Multifunction boxes” that can house conveniences such as cooler boxes, 15-inch monitors, a DVD player or a table also can slide on the rails. The aft wall, which also is moveable, can slide to alter the size of the luggage compartment. Sports gear and other cargo can be secured using several attach points on the floor and walls.
Passengers can adjust the intensity and color of the ambient lighting, borrowed from Mercedes E- and S-Class cars. The customer can choose from several kinds of wood for the floor and the ceiling and from a range of high-quality fabrics and colors for the seats. Externally, the nose has been redesigned to avoid what was perceived as a “too technical-looking” radar compartment, Paganetti said. The company also has modified the shape of the skids’ legs.
The EC145 is the first product in the newly launched Mercedes-Benz Style range. o