Eurocopter performed a demonstration flight of an “optionally piloted vehicle” (OPV) version of the EC145 in late April, with the goal of eventually employing any of its models in unmanned operations such as automated surveillance and cargo hauling. Secret flight-testing began two weeks earlier at Istres air force base in France. The project’s coordination team is based at Eurocopter’s research and development center in Donauwörth, Germany, where the first flights, with a monitoring pilot, took place.
Helipartner Thailand and Eurocopter’s South East Asia affiliate signed an agreement on Tuesday at the Paris Air Show for 10 AS350B3e light-single helicopters for delivery from 2013 to 2015. “After our first AS350B3e delivery in May and its successful leasing in Indonesia, we are delighted to expand our fleet with this new order and pursue our leasing market development with the helicopter type,” said Tisanu Ratanarat, CEO of Helipartner Thailand.
Under the theme “Delivering Innovation,” EADS and its divisions–Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter–are showcasing a wide range of products it says will help shape the future of the aerospace industry. Meanwhile, the EADS human resources team plans to conduct a number of events at the show for those interested in starting or furthering their careers in aerospace and defense.
Eurocopter announced today that its X3 compound helicopter demonstrator flew at 255 knots in level flight on Friday near Istres in southeast France. Also part of the unofficial speed record was a descent at 263 knots. These speeds are just a few knots higher than those the Sikorsky X2 semi-compound demonstrator attained in 2010.
The U.S. Army’s Aviation Applied Technology Directorate selected Bell Helicopter Textron, a Boeing-Sikorsky team and AVX Aircraft among contractors invited to participate in the joint multi-role technology demonstrator (JMR-TD) program with new rotorcraft designs, the companies confirmed. They expect the Army will award JMR-TD contracts by September. The first demonstrator flights are planned in 2017.
The FAA has proposed an Airworthiness Directive for the Eurocopter AS332C, AS332L, AS332L1, AS332L2 and EC225LP. It requires inspecting the intermediate gearbox (IGB) fairing for a crack and inspecting the IGB fairing gutter, if installed, for a crack, separation or interference.
New details on the still-to-be-certified Eurocopter EC175 medium-twin helicopter program have emerged, including unexpected Chinese influence. Although the EC175/AC352 is a 50-50 joint program with China’s Avicopter, the Marignane, France-based manufacturer had long made it clear the two certification processes were distinct.
The EASA has issued a new emergency AD on the Eurocopter EC225, requiring crews to land or ditch immediately if the main gearbox’s back-up lubrication system activates. “Investigations on the [emergency lubrication] system have revealed an area of the flight envelope in which the [system’s] performance is different from that assumed during certification,” the EASA said. The system was designed to allow for 30 minutes of flight after loss of oil lubrication.
Eurocopter has inaugurated its Systemhaus, a €100 million ($130 million) helicopter development center built at its existing site in Donauwörth, Germany. With a total floor area of 300,000 sq ft, it is the new workplace for about 900 employees previously located in Ottobrunn. The facility features research and test facilities that will be used notably for the still-under-wraps X9 program.
Eurocopter (Booth 7050) has received orders from China’s State Grid General Aviation Co. (SGGAC) for two AS350 B3e AStars and one EC225 . They will be used not only to support the country’s electric grid development but also for other airlift missions. “The SGGAC is growing its helicopter fleet and capabilities,” said general manager Zou Ben Guo.