The twin-engine Eurocopter EC 135 helicopter, well established in the emergency medical services and law enforcement sectors, is gaining greater acceptance as an executive aircraft, with about 100 delivered to this market, according to the manufacturer. Here at EBACE, Eurocopter (Booth No. 7513) is showing one of these aircraft, OE-XFB–owned by The Flying Bulls of Austria.
Helicopter manufacturers have come to EBACE 2007 riding high on the wave of some $732 million in new orders announced at the industry’s Heli-Expo held in Orlando, Florida, in March. They will be looking to chase more business here in Geneva, mindful of the latest market report from avionics and engine maker Honeywell, which has forecast an increased fleet replacement rate of 20 percent among European operators over the next five years.
Eurocopter AS 350BA AStar, Princeville, Hawaii, March 8, 2007–Four people were killed and the Heli-USA Airways AStar was substantially damaged following loss of control while it was landing at Princeville Airport. VMC had prevailed for the 45-minute air-tour flight.
Helicopter Support has received certification from American Eurocopter to support the AS 350, AS 355, EC 120 and BO 105. A wholly owned subsidiary of Sikorsky, Helicopter Support is based at Tweed New Haven Airport in Connecticut. It provides parts and services.
In late March Eurocopter inaugurated the new Eurocopter España plant in Albacete, in east central Spain. The new plant will produce the rear fuselage sections–made from composite materials–of the EC 135. The plant will also house the final assembly line for EC 135s destined for the Spanish market, and it is involved in several Eurocopter military programs. The site provides 355,000 sq ft of covered production facilities.
Marignane, France-based Helisim plans to offer a Eurocopter EC 225/725 FAA level-D flight simulator starting in 2007. This will come in addition to the level-D qualifications that the training service provider, since its inception in 2000, has received for the Super Puma Mk1, Super Puma Mk2, Dauphin N2 and EC 155 helicopters.
The prodigal sons of the North Sea oil-support community, brothers Stephen and Peter Bond, have returned to the fray more than eight weeks early. The first operational flights by Bond Offshore Helicopters (BOH) took off last month. Managing director Geoff Williams said there are several reasons behind the move, but it was always their intention to start flying in advance of the contracted date of August 1.
Eurocopter has developed its own concept of a modular helicopter to meet what it believes are the security requirements of the new generation of EU members. A basic “green” version is equipped with mission packs for one of a wide range of airborne tasks.
Canadian firm Heli-Lynx Helicopter Services launched the TwinStar 355FX mod at Heli-Expo last month. The program, which has received Transport Canada approval and was awaiting FAA certification at press time, essentially modifies an IFR Eurocopter AS 355F2 TwinStar into a twin-engine version of the VFR AS 350 AStar.
A deluge of orders for new helicopters during HAI’s Heli-Expo, held in Las Vegas last month, surprised even seasoned industry watchers on the floor. By the end of the show’s second day, an estimated 110 airframes, conservatively worth $600 million, had been spoken for by domestic and international customers.