In the first quarter of 2013, revenue at Eurocopter fell by 13 percent, to €1.04 billion ($1.35 billion), with deliveries of 58 helicopters during the three-month period. Parent company EADS attributed the downward performance to the ongoing “technical problems with the Super Puma/EC225 fleet.” Affected have been both deliveries and the service revenue generated by helicopter operations. In the first three months, Eurocopter booked net orders for 51 helicopters, the company said.
An announcement made this week by cabin equipment manufacturer Vision Systems hints that Eurocopter will unveil a VIP variant of the EC175 medium twin at EBACE, which opens on Tuesday in Geneva. Vision Systems said it provided a Wi-Fi network, a tablet application, ceiling displays for movies and electronically dimming windows–all integrated in a cabin management system–for the EC175 that will be displayed at Eurocopter’s EBACE booth.
The FAA adopted an airworthiness directive for Eurocopter Deutschland MBB-Kawasaki BK117C2 helicopters requiring inspection of the long tail-rotor drive shaft assembly for blind rivets. If any blind rivets are located, the shaft assembly must be replaced. The AD was prompted by the discovery that some helicopters have blind rivets installed in place of solid rivets, which could lead to failure of the tail rotor drive shaft and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.
Eurocopter Japan has delivered a Eurocopter AS365N3 Dauphin retrofitted with a high-speed, real-time satellite transmission system to the country’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency. The helicopter satellite communication system enables direct transmission to relay satellites, without being interrupted by the helicopter’s moving rotor blades. Mitsubishi Electric developed the system, intended for use when ground-based networks are unavailable.
Maverick Helicopters in Las Vegas is preparing to receive its second Eurocopter EC130T2, part of a firm order for 10 new helicopters and options on another 40.
Eurocopter performed a demonstration flight today with an “optionally piloted vehicle” (OPV) version of the EC145 light twin helicopter, aiming eventually at unmanned operations such as automated surveillance and cargo with any of its models. Secret flight-testing began early this month at an air force base in Istres, France.
Milestone Aviation Group, the helicopter leasing firm that was co-founded in August 2010 by airplane fractional program pioneer Richard Santulli, has quickly grown to mammoth size. The Dublin, Ireland-based company said its fleet, which ranges from light-twin to heavy helicopters, now includes more than 90 aircraft from AgustaWestland, Bell, Eurocopter and Sikorsky worth more than $1.3 billion.
The number of Eurocopters based in China for both civil and parapublic operators has now reached the 100-aircraft mark. According to Eurocopter, the milestone helicopter–an EC120 light single–was recently delivered to an investor group that will provide “tailored solutions to support the development of helicopter flying clubs.” The company sold 16 turbine helicopters to Chinese commercial and parapublic operators last year, a 54-percent year-over-year increase. It claims a 40-percent share of the market for helicopters in China.
Eurocopter is now offering Sandel Avionics SN4500 primary navigation displays and SA4550 primary attitude displays as optional equipment on the EC135. As such, Sandel’s products are offered in Eurocopter’s blue book as part of the mid-life efficiency package for new-production EC135s. The SA4550 and SN4500 units feature LED-backlit display technology and “intuitive pilot controls.” The primary navigation display also includes Stormscope, traffic and datalink weather interfaces.
Eurocopter’s presence in China goes back more than 40 years to the first sale of an Alouette III helicopter in the country in 1967. But since then, the European manufacturer has set down much deeper roots in China and the new twin-engine EC175 (or Z15, as the Chinese version is known) represents the latest stage in a wide-ranging cooperation with China’s Avicopter (see box) through the Shanghai-based joint venture Eurocopter China.