Posts Tagged eurocopter

It’s official: Eurocopter is now Airbus Helicopters

The rebranding of Eurocopter as Airbus Helicopters took effect yesterday, putting to bed a 21-year-old brand and aligning the company more closely with the global Airbus name. Airbus Helicopters joins Airbus and Airbus Defence & Space within the new Airbus Group.

Guillaume Faury, President of Airbus Helicopters, says the firm will both benefit from and enrich the Airbus brand: “This rebranding works hand in hand with our ongoing transformation, which is now bolstered by the Airbus brand’s strong foundation in innovation, quality and industrial excellence. Both of these together will serve our ambition of setting the industry standard in terms of safety, mission capability and performance for our operators around the world.”

While the company’s website has changed to www.airbushelicopters.com, the new branding hasn’t yet affected the naming and designations of Airbus Helicopters’ products, and Airbus Helicopter says its staff can still be reached at their Eurocopter email addresses.

Airbus Helicopters is the world’s No.1 helicopter manufacturer with a turnover of 6.3 billion euros and a staff of about 22,000. It says its fleet in service includes about 12,000 helicopters operated by more than 3,000 customers in about 150 countries.

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Eurocopter issues EC135 safety notice

Eurocopter has issued a Safety Information Notice to EC135 operators after being informed of a fuel indication issue on board the helicopter that crashed into a Glasgow pub last month, killing 10 people.

Subsequent fuel system functionality tests performed by the aircraft operator, Bond Air Services, and two other EC135 operators in Europe “have revealed possible similar supply-tank fuel gauging errors on some aircraft”, Eurocopter says in the notice, adding that it is currently undertaking its own in-depth investigation.

“The first analysis shows that the indication of the fuel quantity in the supply tanks could be overestimated,” Eurocopter says. “All crews should be aware that in the worst case a red warning ‘Low Fuel’ could appear without any amber FUEL Caution before.

“The red LOW FUEL 1/2 warnings are generated by an independent switching logic with separate sensors in each supply tank. The red LOW FUEL 1/2 warning lights continue to operate correctly even if the fuel gauging is inaccurate.

“Therefore, after illumination of LOW FUEL warnings the procedure iaw. the Flight Manual must be strictly complied with, notwithstanding of the fuel quantity indication.”

After an initial investigation into the Glasgow crash, the UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said the Police Scotland helicopter showed “no evidence of major mechanical disruption of either engine” and still had 95 litres of the 400kg of fuel with which it had taken off.

In a statement released yesterday, Bond Air Services said it had temporarily suspended service operations while it conducted checks on its fleet of EC135s.

“The results of these tests were subsequently validated by Eurocopter, and appropriate repairs made before returning the aircraft to service. We also took the decision to increase safety barriers by mandating that all our EC135s should maintain a minimum of 90kg of fuel onboard at all times.

“All our EC135 aircraft are now fully operational and are available for missions with our air ambulance and police customers,” it concluded.

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Two Eurocopter EC225s heading Bond’s way

© Eurocopter - Patrick Penna

Two Eurocopter EC225s are on their way to Australia for use by Bond Helicopters Australia in Timor Sea offshore crew change operations for PTTEP Australasia, part of Thailand’s national petroleum, exploration and production company.

The aircraft were delivered last week to Waypoint Leasing, which this year established a commercial and marketing partnership for helicopter leasing with Eurocopter and executed a sale and lease-back transaction with Bond.

“We are pleased to receive delivery of the EC225s, the first Eurocopter aircraft in our growing fleet, and to partner with Bond Helicopters Australia, a premier provider of energy support services to one of the fastest growing offshore oil and gas markets in the world,” Waypoint Leasing CEO Ed Washecka said in a statement.

More than 80 EC225s – 11-ton rotorcraft with long-range performance, state-of-the-art equipment and system redundancy – operate for the oil and gas sector in about 12 countries.

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Eurocopter EC175 sets two climb records

Eurocopter’s EC175 helicopter has managed to secure two new world records – the fastest climb to 3000 feet (three minutes and 10 seconds) and the fastest climb to 6000 feet (six minutes and 54 seconds). The just-ratified records were set on 6 February this year at Istres Airforce Base in France with experimental flight test pilot Alain Di-Bianca in the pilot’s seat.

Eurocopter notes that the EC175 is targeting EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) certification in early 2014 and is currently submitting the rotorcraft’s flight manual to the agency as part of the certification process.

Its strong performance in February gives Eurocopter high hopes for the future of the new machine. “The EC175 confirmed it is the best-performing, most cost-effective and easiest to fly helicopter in its category,” says Laurent Vautherin, head of the EC175 program.

The EC175 is a medium-sized twin-engine helicopter designed for a full range of missions, including oil and gas airlifts, search and rescue, emergency medical services, public services, VIP and executive transport.

Among other features, it boasts hover out of ground effect (HOGE) at maximum 7.5-tonne take-off weight at 4500 feet at ISA+20°C conditions; one engine inoperative (OEI) hover performance, which ensures safety during hosting for search and rescue missions; and extensive power reserve and heli-deck performance (PC1) at maximum take-off weight in ISA+20°C conditions. It has a recommended cruise speed of 150 knots and a maximum cruise speed exceeding 165 knots.

The EC175’s production schedule is currently being ramped up, with the 15th model now on the final assembly line.

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Bond gets three EC225s for Thai offshore job

Avincis Fleet & Engineering Director Martin Whittaker (left) and Eurocopter Executive Officer for France and Vice President of Global Business and Services Dominique Maudet. © Eurocopter, Amélie Laurin

Avincis has bought three new Eurocopter EC225 Super Puma helicopters to be used by local subsidiary Bond Helicopters Australia to service its multi-million dollar, five year contract with the PTTEP Australasia Group of Companies, part of Thailand’s national petroleum exploration and production company.

This is Bond’s first major contract in the region and marks the company’s entry into one of the fastest growing offshore markets in the world.

Specifically configured for offshore flight, the EC225 is a high-performance heavy twin-engine helicopter weighing 11 tons and featuring two Turbomeca Makila 2A1 engines delivering 1776 kW of power each, a five-blade rotor and a gearbox that meets the 30-minute dry-run requirements of the latest JAR 29 amendments.

The aircraft has a seating capacity of up to 19 passengers in three configurations: Passenger (two pilots plus 19 passengers); search-and-rescue (two pilots plus four crew with comfort seats plus up to 20 passengers or three stretchers; and Executive/VIP (two pilots plus eight to 12 passengers).

Of special interest to oil and gas operators is the aircraft’s ability to easily change its mission role from passenger transportation to light SAR, thanks to ADELT (Automatically Deployable Emergency Locator Transmitter for Helicopters), an optional pod for additional fuel tanks or luggage compartment, space provision and basic wiring for SAR mission equipment and a cabin floor with integrated rails.

In the case of an emergency, the large windows push out to allow easy egress and thus quick and easy access to integrated life-rafts.

“We are delighted to have secured these aircraft for our new Bond business in Australia,” Avincis CEO James Drummond said in a statement. “This strengthens our strategic relationship with Eurocopter, who are an important partner in Avincis’ future growth.”

On Eurocopter’s side, CEO Guillaume Faury said: “Our long-term relationship with the Avincis Group has been built on a basis of mutual confidence, and I look forward to furthering this partnership with the delivery of three more EC225s.”

These latest additions to Avincis’ global fleet of around 350 aircraft will be support PTTEP’s operations in the Timor Sea. The first two aircraft will be delivered in December 2013, with the third EC225 due to arrive in the second half of 2014.

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Mercedes-Benz Eurocopter EC145 heads for China

© Eurocopter – Charles Abarr

China’s Henan New Continental Business Aviation has become the first Asian company to buy a EC145 Mercedes-Benz Style helicopter from Eurocopter.

Designed in collaboration with the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Studio in Como, Italy, the twin-engined aircraft is made for high-end, VIP operations. Its interior design, which is said to feature high quality materials, elegant woods and ambient cabin lighting, is inspired by Mercedes-Benz cars. It has a versatile and easily transformable cabin suitable for a broad range of activities.

Henan New Continental plans to use the EC145MB to spearhead the creation of a helicopter fleet that will meet China’s growing demand for VIP and business passenger transport. To this end, the company has also bought an AS350 B3e from Eurocopter’s Ecureuil family.

The latest version of the French company’s popular single-engine workhorse – which has a wide cabin, high cruise speed and low vibration levels for passengers – features a more powerful Turbomeca Arriel 2D engine with a longer life cycle and lower maintenance costs, next-generation FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control), an improved interior design and tail rotor modifications for additional ease of piloting.

“While VIP helicopter transportation in China is relatively young, the customers’ needs are maturing rapidly,” Henan chairman Zhou Suiji said in a statement. “With the EC145 Mercedes-Benz Style helicopter and the AS350 B3e, we will be able to meet and exceed their expectations of comfort and exclusivity.”

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Belgium gets first Navy-variant Eurocopter NH90

Eurocopter NH90 NFH. © Charles Abarr

The Belgian Armed Forces have taken delivery of their first Eurocopter NH90 NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter), a variant of which is flow by the Australian Army and Navy as the MRH-90 Taipan.

The Belgian aircraft is the first built at Eurocopter’s factory in Donauwörth, Germany.

Eurocopter says Belgium is the fifth country to put the European-developed NH90 NFH version into service, joining France, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway. The aircraft is rated at Full Operational Capability (FOC), meaning it can be used for the full range of Belgium naval missions, such as Search and Rescue (SAR) or military missions at sea.

Belgium has ordered eight NH90s in total, including four NFH naval versions to replace the Belgian Navy’s Sea King helicopters. Training of flight and maintenance crews will begin next month, with the helicopters going operational next year.

The NH90 features a redundant fly-by-wire system, a full composite corrosion-free airframe, two powerful engines, a fully integrated weapon system as well as a wide, easily reconfigurable cabin. It can operate from a shore base or a frigate up to sea state 5.

“The NH90 NFH is operationally proven, and Belgium will benefit from this helicopter’s already validated performance, reliability and versatility,” said Michel Polychroniadis, Director of the NH90 Programme at Eurocopter. “The Belgium acceptance teams and flight crews have been impressed by the NH90 NFH’s flight stability and its capabilities, providing a preview of the operational enhancements that will be provided.”

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Spain gets first all-female medical helicopter crew

Spain’s first all-female medical helicopter crew has been formed at the Malpartida medical base in the western city of Cácares.

The four-person crew is made up of pilot Beatriz Parera, medic Gloria Palacios and Salobrar Sánchez and Rocio Ramos from the Extremadura Health Service, and uses a Eurocopter EC135.

“The gender of the crew doesn’t matter,” Parera says. “What matters is the way the crew and the health professionals work together to ensure successful missions.”

The service is operated by INAER Spain, which operates 27 medical aircraft in the country. The company says that last year it completed 8,228 medical emergency missions and treated 6,658 patients suffering from conditions including trauma, heart attacks, strokes and sepsis, as well as providing neonatal care and transport.

INAER is part of the Avincis Group, which operates two companies in Australia – Australian Helicopters and Bond Helicopters Australia.

Australian Helicopters is based in Queensland and delivers multiple-sector services on an immediate-response basis to state and federal government clients and agencies from Brisbane and eight bases between Torres Strait and Adelaide. Included in its fleet of 19 helicopters are nine multi-engine IFR helicopters for operations over water.

Bond was established to provide energy support services to one of the world’s fastest growing offshore oil and gas markets. The company recently won its first major contract and will start providing services in November this year.

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Satellite guidance tests lead to quieter landings

Significantly quieter helicopter landing procedures have been achieved by a twin-engined Eurocopter EC155 using augmented satellite guidance.

Taking part in the Green Rotorcraft Integrated Technology Demonstrator program – part of Europe’s Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative – the flight tests in Marignane, France, involved the use of optimised noise abatement flight paths compatible with Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) operations.

Eurocopter said vertical guidance during landing approaches was provided by the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), the European Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS), with the helicopter’s Flight Management System (FMS) coupled to the Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS). This meant that the new approach profiles could be flown accurately with automatic monitoring of speed profiles and ascent/descent rates, thus minimising pilot workload.

“Improving the neighbour-friendly aspects of rotorcraft continues to be a priority for us, and these new tests underscore how advanced flight guidance systems can be brought together with the latest navigation technologies to reduce perceived sound,” Eurocopter Vice-President of Research Yves Favennec said in a statement.

The Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative, which is said to be Europe’s most ambitious aeronautical research program ever, aims to significantly increase the air transport sector’s environmental performance by developing breakthrough technologies that result in quieter and more fuel efficient aeroplanes and helicopters.

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Three Superpumas join Asian oil and gas operations

© Anthony Pecchi

Three new Eurocopter EC225 Superpumas have been delivered to offshore oil and gas industry customers in Vietnam and Malaysia – the Southern Vietnam Helicopter Company (VNH South) and Malaysia’s Awan Inspirasi Sdn Bhd (AISB) and MHS Aviation.

VNH South’s EC225 is the third in its fleet, with a fourth to be delivered in 2014. The company’s first helicopter was an SA330 Puma, bought when it began oil and gas operations 27 years ago. The fleet has now expanded to include 10 Eurocopters, with four AS332 L2 helicopters and two EC155 Dauphins adding to its four EC225s.

Awan Inspirasi’s EC225 will enter service in Subang in September, replacing a leased aircraft and joining two other Superpumas in the AISB lineup.

“We were the first to introduce the EC225 in the Asia-Pacific region, as it answers our needs perfectly,” says Awan Inspirasi CEO Datuk Hanif Darimi. “It has been a strong asset for Malaysia’s deep-water exploration and oil and gas operations.”

The company is the only Malaysian service provider operating in deep waters.

The EC225 being delivered to MHS Aviation is the company’s fifth, and joins 13 other Eurocopters of the EC225, AS355, AS332 and AS365 types.

The EC225 is a high-performance heavy twin-engine helicopter weighing 11 tons and featuring two Turbomeca Makila 2A1 engines delivering 1776 kW of power each, a five-blade rotor and a gearbox that meets the 30-minute dry-run requirements of the latest JAR 29 amendments.

The aircraft has a seating capacity of up to 19 passengers in three configurations: Passenger (two pilots plus 19 passengers); search-and-rescue (two pilots plus four crew with comfort seats plus up to 20 passengers or three stretchers; and Executive/VIP (two pilots plus eight to 12 passengers).
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