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.
Pratt & Whitney Canada’s helicopter turboshaft engine business has enjoyed
an unprecedented surge in recent years, thanks in part to the company’s development work on turbofan engines for business jets, company executives said.
Eurocopter has reported progress on two major programs on which it cooperates in Asia: the civil EC 175, in China, and the military Korean Utility Helicopter (KUH), in South Korea–both seven-metric-ton-class helicopters.
Eurocopter delivered the first two EC 225 medium twins in China to the Ministry of Communications in Zhuhai late last year. The China Rescue and Salvage Bureau will operate the helicopters on search-and-rescue missions.
Small but noteworthy helicopter equipment manufacturers found a suitable showcase for their products at Helitech 2007 in Duxford, England, early last month. Big OEMs Agusta-Westland, Bell, Enstrom, Eurocopter, MD Helicopters, Robinson and Sikor- sky (along with accompanying subsidiary Schweizer) were either present or represented, and they had sales to announce.
Heli-Invest of Poland has signed a deal with Eurocopter to carry out light maintenance on the EC 120 and EC 130, and to act as its customer services agent in Poland. Heli-Invest signed a three-year contract with Eurocopter in June to create a base that can offer its customers an OEM-approved “all-inclusive” maintenance package. The company expects to obtain Part 145 approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency soon.