Eurocopter AS 350B3, San Elizario, Texas, May 22, 2007–The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air Operations AS 350 was destroyed when it crashed after a loss of control while maneuvering on a routine border patrol mission. The crash site was about 15 miles southeast of El Paso International Airport. The commercial pilot was killed and his observer was seriously injured.
Eurocopter announced recently that the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has certified the EC 145 for civil night-vision goggle (NVG) operations, and in doing so, according to Eurocopter, making it the first OEM to offer commercial helicopter NVG capabilities from the factory. Various retrofits have been available to operators for a number of years.
Eurocopter will install flight training devices, including six-axis, full-motion simulators for the EC 135 light twin, at its Donauwörth, Germany, and Dallas training facilities. Installation work should take place in the last quarter; certification is pegged for March, to JAR-STD2H level 3 and FAA Part 60 FTD level 6 standards. The simulators are being developed by CAE and Indra in cooperation with Eurocopter.
Eurocopter and Abu Dhabi-based Falcon Aviation Services (FAS) have jointly launched a regional maintenance center to provide maintenance and overhaul services in the Gulf region for the company’s helicopters. Eurocopter conducted a technical audit at
FAS’ facilities in April. Simultaneously with signing the agreement, FAS ordered two EC 130s and two AS 365 N3 Dauphins.
Eurocopter has launched a 50,000-sq-ft extension of its customization, subassembly and maintenance facility at Mexico City International Airport. In addition, in May the European manufacturer signed three training agreements in the country. The first, with the Mexican Polytechnical Institute, creates a course in aeronautical engineering for helicopters.
Eurocopter is investigating all-electric helicopter system architectures, including flight controls, with the goal of having them in service within 10 years. The Marignane, France-based manufacturer clearly intends to substitute electricity for current sources of energy for systems, such as hydraulics. The change is likely to result in lower maintenance costs and improved handling qualities.
Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling made it clear at a press conference here in Paris that there will be no synergy between the Korean Helicopter Program (KHP) and the EC 175. Although these two programs share the same class–seven metric tons (5,400 pounds)–and the same timing–first flight in mid 2009–they are completely different, he asserted.
The new Eurocopter AS 355 NP Ecureuil on display here at Le Bourget will shortly be delivered to the first customer, Scandinavian Helicopter Group. The Swedish operator uses its fleet of rotorcraft mainly for passenger transport and aerial work.
Here at the Paris Air Show, helicopter engine manufacturer Turbomeca announced three contracts for its support-by-the-hour (SBH) scheme.
Getting in some early practice is this Eurocopter EC 665 Tigre, one of 24 rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft that will be flying in the daily display here. Among other rotary-wing aircraft are the Bell/Agusta BA 609 tiltrotor and NH Industries NH90T.