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XPONENTIAL Innovation Preview -- www.allthingsunmanned.com

Tue, Mar 08, 2011

Eurocopter Introduces Evolution Versions Of Four Helicopters

Updated Aircraft Will Carry 'e' Designation

A comprehensive evolution of Eurocopter’s helicopter product line was announced at the Heli-Expo 2011 exposition in Orlando, Florida, providing enhanced operating capabilities, improved mission effectiveness and increased efficiency across four families in the company’s light, medium and heavy rotary-wing aircraft categories.

These enhanced helicopters result from Eurocopter’s continuing major investments in innovation, and respond to the evolving needs of operators worldwide. They involve the AS350, EC135, AS365/AS565 and AS332 helicopters, and are in addition to Eurocopter’s introduction of its new EC145 T2 – which was unveiled yesterday at Heli-Expo 2011.

“At Eurocopter, we are meeting our promise of investing in the future of helicopter flight, developing this comprehensive evolution of our product line to offer customers even better cost-effectiveness, mission capability, ease of operation and flight safety,” said Eurocopter President & CEO Lutz Bertling.

The first of Eurocopter’s enhanced helicopters is making its debut on Eurocopter’s Heli-Expo 2011 exhibit stand: the single-engine AS350 B3e. This updated version of the best-selling Ecureuil family has a more powerful Turbomeca Arriel 2D turboshaft engine, along with a new-generation digital FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) and an engine data recorder for condition monitoring.

As an additional option the aircraft can be operated at its maximum takeoff engine power rating for 30 minutes. This offers the opportunity to equip the AS350 B3e with engine filters for a protection during flight in sand and snow conditions without weight penalty. It incorporates tail rotor modifications for additional ease of piloting, and also features an improved interior design. Certification of the AS350 B3e is planned this summer, with deliveries to begin before year-end.

Eurocopter’s EC135 T2e and P2e evolved versions of its popular EC135 twin-engine helicopter have an increased maximum takeoff weight of up to 6,500 pounds, which offers a 88 pound gain in payload and allows an extra passenger to be carried with a load margin extension from its previous weight rating. Certification of the EC135 T2e/P2e is planned in mid 2011 – with the improvements to be integrated on all new production EC135s from mid-year, and offered for retrofit as well on in-service helicopters.

Enhancements for the AS365 N3e/AS565 MBe versions of Eurocopter’s medium-weight Dauphin family respond to market requests for improved hot-and-high performance, along with new technologies and systems, on this twin-engine helicopter. Primary changes are the introduction of Arriel 2N engines with dual-channel FADEC, use of the main gearbox from Eurocopter’s EC155 helicopter, the incorporation of a new Starflex rotor head, and the application of a reinforced main rotor mast. These upgrades provide a 15 percent increase in power for better performance, a significant payload gain, and reductions in maintenance and operating costs. Certification of the AS365 N3e is anticipated in the fourth quarter of 2013, with deliveries targeted to begin in early 2014.

Improvements for the AS332L1e Super Puma are focused on the integration of Eurocopter’s advanced cockpit and automatic flight control systems employed on its EC225/EC725 helicopter. This will offer enhanced flight envelope protection and increased safety levels, along with full compatibility for such new-generation mission equipment as forward looking infrared (FLIR) sensors, helicopter terrain awareness and warning systems (HTAWS), digital map units, and traffic alert and collision avoidance systems (TCAS).

FMI: www.eurocopter.com

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