The prototype of the Eurocopter EC 175 made its “official maiden flight” on December 17, almost two weeks after its actual first flight on December 4 in Marignane, France. The flight-test phase is now well under way. The event, attended by customers, employees, suppliers and journalists, was also the opportunity for Eurocopter to highlight the cooperation with China’s Avicopter.
The Eurocopter EC 175 medium twin helicopter made its first flight on Friday at the company’s headquarters in Marignane, France, according to a source close to Eurocopter. Another source–a Eurocopter official–told AIN that the first flight was the culmination of almost one month of ground tests. The manufacturer will stage an official “maiden flight” on Thursday next week.
Russian air transport giant UTair Aviation (Booth No. 1225) took center stage at Heli-Expo to sign an agreement with Eurocopter (Booth No. 2754) for the creation of an approved maintenance center for the OEM’s products and to work jointly on a new corporate interior design for the EC 175.
Despite announcing last week that it is laying off 10 percent of its 10,000-strong global workforce because of global recession, aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney Canada remains committed to developing new products, according to company president John Saabas. It is working hard to meet, but not exceed, demand, while continuing to support 44,000 in-service engines.
Harbin Aviation Industry (HAIG) on November 15 in Harbin, China, delivered the first EC 175 airframe to Eurocopter. HAIG is Eurocopter’s partner in the medium-twin helicopter program. The prototype will be assembled 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, with approval from Chinese authority CAAC to follow in 2012.
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.
In aviation, like most other industries, success breeds regulation. The bigger an industry becomes, the more the government perceives the need to regulate it, often citing reasons such as safety, unfair competition and environmental protection. Yet, in typical Darwinian fashion, most industries adapt–or die. In aviation, hush kits quiet noisier jet engines, airplanes are made RVSM compatible and helicopters are flown neighborly.
It wasn’t just the great Texas barbeque that put smiles on the faces of Heli-Expo visitors. A hot market for helicopters ensured that the show’s first trip to Houston would go down a record-setter.
Eurocopter closed out the second day of Heli-Expo 2008 with new firm orders and options for more than 200 helicopters with a total value estimated in excess of $1 billion. The company’s firm orders alone were in the neighborhood $850 million, substantially more than the $732 million for all OEM firm commitments disclosed at Heli-Expo’07.
It was much ado about something as Eurocopter unveiled its new EC 175 medium twin yesterday at its booth (No. 631) in the main Heli-Expo hall. As the curtain dropped and the spotlights came up, the full-scale mockup was revealed in shades of gray and carrying 16 passengers dressed as offshore oil workers.