Thanks to Mirko MASIN for these images of the new HeliDueBi Eurocopter EC130B4 … just arrived from Spain. Cassina Rizzardi Heliport (CO), May 2017.
Good-Bye BK117 …
The MBB/Kawasaki BK117 (later Eurocopter BK117) helicopter type was in service in Italy since 1989 flying with several operators such as Elilombarda, Aeroveneta, Croce Alata, Avioriprese Jet Executive, Elilario, Alidaunia, Helitalia and Inaer Aviation Italia … but, after 28 years since the first one was registered, the last airworthy BK117 (I-DENI) was cancelled from the Italian Register on date 13 March 2017, heading north back to Airbus factory in Germany.
Eurocopter AS350B3 Ecureuil Elifriulia I-ENKY … approaching landing spot in Milan Malpensa Airport, June 2016.
Eurocopter EC135P1 Lions Air / Skymedia AG HB-ZJD … landing in Milan Malpensa in a foggy day, February 2017.
PRESS RELEASE – 13 October 2016
At the end of August 2016, Airbus Helicopters’ Ecureuil fleet reached the impressive milestone of 30 million flight hours.
To learn more about the longevity of a fleet that represents 42 percent of Airbus Helicopters’ in service aircraft, we spoke to Mathilde Royer-Germain, Vice President of Light Helicopters Programme.
The first Ecureuil was delivered in 1977. How do you explain the longevity of this helicopter family?
Mathilde Royer-Germain: The first Ecureuil was conceived with safety, low operating costs, and the anticipation of future performance increases as priorities. Today, the AS350 (renamed H125) has become the unrivalled leader in the aerial work segment, able to lift more than its empty weight. In 2005, the AS350 even broke the world record for the highest altitude landing on Mount Everest. With the introduction of a wider cabin on the EC130 (renamed H130), the Ecureuil family has been able to expand its market footprint further, especially in the tourism and medical transport segments. The Ecureuil family has been able to adapt to market evolutions and to address key mission segments since its introduction.
Five thousand Ecureuil are flying in 119 countries for more than 1,800 customers. Why has this helicopter been such a success?
M.R-G: The first explanation is probably in the Ecureuil’s DNA: this helicopter was designed to be safe, simple, versatile and to offer the best performance versus operating cost in the world. Today, the Ecureuil family is the best choice to perform the complete range of helicopter missions, specifically with the dual H125 and H130 offer. The H130, with its spacious cabin offering excellent visibility, its high performance, its low vibration level, its rupture resistant fuel system and energy-absorbing seats, is perfectly conceived to carry seven passengers and to perform medical transport missions in complete safety. A versatile aircraft, it can also perform aerial work missions. The H125’s lifting capacity and ability to carry an extraordinary variety of equipment, both externally and internally, along with hot and high performance, make it a helicopter particularly suited to aerial work, law enforcement, search-and-rescue units and firefighting. Our customers love the Ecureuil because they know they can count on it no matter their mission.
In a strongly depressed global helicopter market, will the Ecureuil continue to be as successful as it was?
M.R-G: The H125 and H130 represent two helicopters out of three delivered in their weight class in the world, and the Ecureuil bookings remain solid. The Ecureuil is performing particularly well in growth-driven markets, such as China, where Ecureuil deliveries have more than doubled between 2014 and 2016.
The Ecureuil has continuously improved over a period of 40 years. What are the latest developments for this helicopter family?
M.R-G: The next improvement will be the introduction in early 2017 of Garmin G500H avionics on all newly produced H125s and H130s. This glass cockpit solution will reduce pilot workload, especially for mission preparation, and enhance safety with Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT) while preserving external visibility – and all this with no additional weight. In parallel, we are introducing new mission packages in order to capture new business. For example, the H130 can now answer any EMS requirement for single- or dual-pilot interiors, while the H125 will soon offer the most modern equipment kit for law enforcement and surveillance missions.
Finally, we remain focused on simplifying maintenance and reducing operating costs for our customers. As an example, by the end of 2016 we will have reduced by 10 percent the number of maintenance hours required per flight hour and removed the 12-year inspection on the H130. As you can see, we have a lot of ideas for keeping H125s and H130s at the top of operators’ lists as the number one choice to support the growth of their business, for another 30 million flight hours.
PRESS RELEASE – Helitech International 2016
Airbus Helicopters celebrates 20th anniversary of the H135 family at Helitech.
- The reference multi-mission, twin-engine helicopter continues to set standards 20 years on with the addition of Airbus Helicopters’ Helionix.
- The H135 remains a cornerstone of the company’s global strategy through recent orders from China and the UK.
Amsterdam, 11 October 2016 – Airbus Helicopters is celebrating two decades of operations with the H135 light twin, multi-mission helicopter at the Helitech show. Twenty years after its entry into service and thanks to continuous evolution, the H135 has significantly extended its performance and mission capabilities. Today, more than 300 customers in 75 countries operate the H135 for a wide range of missions including Emergency Medical Services (EMS), law enforcement, corporate transport, offshore wind and military flight training.
During a press event at Helitech, Steffen Lutz, CEO of German rescue organization DRF Luftrettung said: “As launch customer of the H135 in 1996, we can now look back on twenty years of rescue operations with this helicopter. The H135 has proven a safe and reliable workhorse and enabled us to save thousands of lives. We have had first-hand experience of the benefits brought by the performance and mission improvements introduced by Airbus Helicopters over the past two decades, and they have proved critical when we put them to use daily in our most demanding HEMS missions. As a long-term operator of the H135 family, we are particularly looking forward to receiving the new Helionix-equipped version in 2017.”
The integration of Airbus Helicopter’s Helionix avionics suite underlines the constant development of the H135. The cockpit system with 4-axis-autopilot – which already equips the H175 and H145 family – will further reduce pilots’ workload and provides an unrivalled level of safety. The H135 with Helionix will receive certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in the coming weeks. Ascent Flight Training will be the first recipient of a fleet of 29 Helionix-equipped H135s, on behalf of the Ministry of Defence, as part of the UK’s Military Flying Training System (UK MFTS).
The H135 will continue to set standards worldwide in the frame of the company’s global strategy. Following the partnership agreement with a consortium of Chinese companies who purchased 100 H135 in June 2016, the light-twin helicopter is now set to burst into the Chinese market with its outstanding EMS Multi-Mission capabilities.
“Over two decades and four million flight hours, the H135 has established itself as the utility helicopter of choice worldwide thanks to its proven track record in safety, availability and flexible configuration,” said Guillaume Faury, Airbus Helicopters CEO. “Today, the evolved and upgraded H135 plays a key role supporting our customers’ success fulfilling the mission requirements for public service, military, corporate and offshore roles,” he added.
Montenegro’s Eurocopter EC120B Colibrì 4O-VIP … leaving Trento Mattarello, May 2016.