Eurocopter has fully launched the replacement program for its AS365/EC155 Dauphin and is targeting 2016 for entry into service for the first iteration, with a more advanced version to enter service several years later. Codenamed X4, the helicopter will feature a radically new cockpit, fly-by-wire controls and low-noise main rotor blades.
Helicopter engine manufacturer Turbomeca (Hall 2A A232) is busy developing improved models for new Eurocopter variants in the light-single and medium-twin helicopter categories, as well as an engine family that will power China’s and Russia’s forays in medium twins.
The Eurocopter X3 (“X cube”) compound helicopter demonstrator is to appear for the first time in public next week at the Paris Air Show. Jean-Michel Billig, the company’s executive v-p for research and development, promised late last month that F-ZXXX will impress showgoers with its maneuverability, just like the military Tiger wowed them in the 1990s when it began performing loops.
Eurocopter delivered the 1,000th Dauphin medium twin in late April, to India-based Pawan Hans Helicopters. The aircraft, an AS365N3, was handed over in an offshore configuration. The global Dauphin fleet, in service with 300 customers, has accumulated 5.1 million flight hours. Eurocopter is working on a new version, the AS365N3e, with deliveries expected to begin in late 2013.
India’s growing helicopter market is fueling the need for helicopter MRO services, and Indian companies are stepping in to meet the demand.
Eurocopter this week delivered the 1,000th Dauphin medium twin, with the milestone copy going to India-based Pawan Hans Helicopters. The aircraft, an AS365N3, was handed over in an offshore configuration. Pawan Hans is the world’s largest civil operator of the model, with a fleet of 35 Dauphins.
Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling yesterday set the bar high for the X4, the company’s next-generation medium twin that is billed as a replacement for the AS365 Dauphin/EC155. He promised the X4 will be “a game changer,” offering “a new way of flying.” The cockpit will be different from that of today’s helicopters, Eurocopter said.
The helicopter group of the Sécurité Civile, France’s emergency preparedness organization, has logged 200,000 hours of operation with the Arriel 1E2 turboshafts that power its Eurocopter EC145s. The group has taken delivery of 34 EC145s since 2002.
Eurocopter and Thales have agreed to install a full-flight simulator for the Dauphin AS365 N3 at Eurocopter’s Singapore facilities by mid-2012. The company expects to operate the simulator 3,500 hours per year, on the strength of the 170 AS365 N3s flown by 700 pilots in the Asia-Pacific region. The cockpit uses an “advanced reconfigurable concept,” which enables modifying the cockpit for different missions in four hours.