DALLAS, Texas --- Eurocopter today unveiled its newest helicopter, the EC130 T2, which features enhanced comfort, improved operational performance and increased versatility for this popular member of the company’s lightweight single-engine product line.
The EC130 T2 was revealed during a ceremony at the 2012 Heli-Expo exhibition in Dallas, Texas, where Eurocopter also announced seven launch customers for the rotary-wing aircraft covering a total of 105 bookings: Maverick Helicopters, Papillon Helicopters, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, Scandinavian Helicopter Group, Air Commander, Europavia and Enloe FlightCare.
The diversity of operations performed by these clients underscores the EC130 T2’s ability to excel in a broad range of missions – from aerial tourism and utility to emergency medical airlift.
“The EC130 T2 is the latest step in Eurocopter’s strategy to expand and evolve our helicopter lineup. The high number of orders is proof that Eurocopter innovation is perfectly aligned with customers’ requirements and the evolution of their operations,” said Eurocopter President & CEO Lutz Bertling. “The EC130 T2 has literally been ‘love at first flight’ for our customers. We are fully committed to begin deliveries of the new EC130 version in 2012.”
While retaining the EC130’s existing external lines, approximately 70 percent of the EC130 T2’s airframe structure has been modified.
New and updated features on the helicopter include the use of a more powerful Arriel 2D turboshaft engine and upgraded main gearbox; the incorporation of an active vibration control system; improved air ventilation, distribution and demisting systems; a cabin interior structure redesign with a full flat floor; a cockpit update for enhanced man-machine interface; new energy-absorbing seats that improve weight and balance for passenger loading; integration of a crashworthy fuel tank; and increased maintenance accessibility for electrical and air conditioning systems.
The EC130 T2’s increased performance is provided by its Turbomeca Arriel 2D engine, which provides 10 percent more average power than the EC130’s current powerplant with lower specific fuel consumption. Based on the proven Arriel 2 engine family, the Arriel 2D benefits from such technology advancements as a new axial compressor and new blade materials, and also provides a higher time between overhaul (TBO) intervals. The Arriel 2D is used at its full-power rating of 952 shp. on the EC130 T2, and is the same engine that equips Eurocopter’s evolved AS350 B3e helicopter in a de-rated version.
Performance improvements for the EC130 T2 include a higher maximum gross takeoff weight (2,500 kg. for internal loads and 3,050 kg. when external loads are carried) and a speed increase of up to 10 kts. Even with these enhancements, the EC130 T2’s external sound level remains within the rules for flights at America’s Grand Canyon National Park – an important factor for tour operators.
Optional features on the EC130 T2 are a new-generation air conditioning unit, tinting of the helicopter’s wrap-around windshield, and a right-hand sliding passenger door. The air conditioning system includes design optimization for improved performance, effective hot/cold temperature control, and better air distribution. Derived from the system on Eurocopter’s EC175 seven-ton-class helicopter, it uses a simple control box with straightforward operating logic similar to climate control units on automobiles.
Future development for the EC130 T2 includes the integration of a new glass cockpit design utilizing dual-screen electronic flight displays matched to a Garmin GPS/NAV/COMM receiver (currently GNS series to be expanded to GTN series). This advanced glass cockpit solution will be available as well for the AS350 B3e helicopter and will be developed through the American Eurocopter subsidiary in the United States and installed with a supplemental type certificate (STC). Both versions will be on display at Eurocopter’s Heli-Expo booth #1917.
Also planned for future development on the EC130 T2 is a 1,500 kg. cargo swing for an aerial work/utility configuration, and the availability of Eurocopter’s Stylence interior – which merges ergonomics and advanced technology in a refined cabin finishing that offers the environment of a fully-equipped in-flight office for business executives and companies.
The no. 1 EC130 T2 has logged 90 flight hours since its first flight in 2011, demonstrating excellent maturity of the new configuration for a certification scheduled this summer. Final assembly of the initial series production aircraft began last December at Eurocopter’s Marignane, France facility. By the second half of 2012, production will transition completely to the EC130 T2 version.
To date, Eurocopter has sold a total of more than 400 EC130s in its various versions.
EC130 T2 launch customers:
-- Maverick Helicopters:
Maverick Helicopters began in 1995 with one aircraft. It was one of the initial customers for the EC130 and took delivery of the company’s first EC130 “ECO-Star” in 2003. Since then, the company has grown into the largest operator of EC130s in the world. The order is part of an upgrade and replacement program for Maverick’s all-Eurocopter fleet of EC130s.
-- Papillon Helicopters:
Founded in 1965, Papillon Airways, Inc. and Grand Canyon Scenic Airlines, since 1929, are the largest “flightseeing” companies in the world – with nearly 70 helicopters and airplanes revealing panoramic views beyond imagination. These companies are one of the few that fly the entire Grand Canyon, including the South and West rims, in addition to tours of Las Vegas, Lake Powell (Page, Arizona), Monument Valley, Utah, and Boulder City, Colorado.
-- Blue Hawaiian Helicopters:
Blue Hawaiian was the launch customer for the EC130 in 2001. Since that time, the company has logged more than 425,000 flight hours on its all-Eurocopter fleet that includes EC130’s and AS350 helicopters. It has been Hawaii’s leader in the air tour industry for over 25 years. In addition to its scenic flights, Blue Hawaiian also provides charters and such utility services as firefighting, search and rescue, power line patrol and the transportation of external loads.
-- Scandinavian Helicopter Group:
Scandinavian Helicopter Group AB (SHG) has signed a letter of intent to purchase nine new EC130 T2 helicopters. Eurocopter has delivered almost 70 aircraft to Scandinavian Helicopter Group throughout the years, one of the leading companies in Scandinavia with regards to worldwide helicopter leasing, specializing in the AS350 range from Eurocopter but also the parent company of Laroy Flyg – a company that has performed aerial work since 1976, which uses the AS350B3 exclusively in its operation today due to its performance and lifting capacity.
-- Air Commander:
A private operator based in Miami, Air Commander has ordered 3 EC130 T2 helicopters.
-- Europavia SA:
With more than 50 years of experience, Europavia SA is a Eurocopter distributor for helicopters and spares parts in Switzerland. The company has ordered the first two EC130 T2 aircraft for the Swiss Market: one in transport passenger configuration and one in utility configuration. The decision to immediately order the EC130 T2 was based on the fact that it is the unique multivalent helicopter the market is looking for. Europavia SA equally provides all maintenance, repair and warranty work via Swiss Helicopter Maintenance and TUAG (which is part of the Europavia Group).
-- Enloe FlightCare:
Enloe FlightCare is the first U.S. air medical program to sign for one EC130 T2. The company, which was the first helicopter ambulance north of Sacramento, California, has operated Eurocopter AS350 A-Star helicopters for more than 25 years. It was one of the first three air medical programs in the country to become fully certified with the Federal Aviation Commission to use night-vision goggles, and has transported more than 14,000 patients since first taking to the air in July 1985.
Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace and defense-related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approximately 20,000 people. In 2011, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s number one helicopter manufacturer with a turnover of 5.4 billion Euros, orders for 457 new helicopters and a 43 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. (ends)