The maiden flight occurred last week at Eurocopter’s Marignane headquarters facility in France, with company pilot Augustin Dupuis at the controls.
“With this first production series aircraft now airborne, the EC175 helicopter is a reality, and Eurocopter is very pleased to bring this new product in its civil range to the market,” said Lutz Bertling, Eurocopter’s President & CEO.
“This first flight is the occasion to confirm our objective – which was to develop, in cooperation with our industrial Chinese partner, AVIC – the safest and best medium-sized rotorcraft, which also is a leader in terms of competitiveness, power efficiency and comfort. Following the success of Eurocopter’s EC130 T2 and the EC145 T2, the EC175 is yet another example of our strategy to provide outstanding value to customers.”
Eurocopter has also announced performance figures that ensure the EC175 has a competitive edge. Its recommended cruise speed is 150 kts. – 10 kts. faster than the previous figure without affecting payload range – while the maximum cruise speed exceeds 165 kts., all at extremely low vibration levels.
Eurocopter’s program flight tests to date also have confirmed the EC175 has excellent power performance including: hover out of ground effect (HOGE) at maximum take-off weight at 4,500 ft. at ISA+20°C conditions; excellent one engine inoperative (OEI) hover performance, which ensures safety during hosting for search and rescue missions ; extensive power reserve and heli-deck performance (PC1) at maximum take-off weight in ISA+20°C conditions –available with application of the latest certified version of Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PT6C-67E engines.
The EC175 avionics extends the EC225’s undisputed superiority of in-flight envelope protection, pilot assistance and situational awareness and includes the most innovative alerting and self-monitoring system. “Helionix,” the newest avionics family being certified, meets the latest international avionics standards, and makes the EC175 the second aircraft to apply them – after the Airbus A380.
For these new state-of-the-art standards compliance to be available from the initial helicopters provided to customers, Eurocopter has shifted the EC175’s certification date – while not impacting the first deliveries, which are to begin in September 2013.
“Flying the EC175 is a fantastic experience,” concluded Eurocopter company pilot Dupuis.
“The excellent avionics, power, speed and low vibrations levels make it a unique aircraft.”
The first EC175 version to receive airworthiness certification will be for the highly-demanding oil and gas market. With the designed-in attributes that meet rigorous operating conditions for off-shore missions – along with its range and speed – the EC175 is the best choice to address all missions, including search and rescue, emergency medical services, public services, VIP and executive transport.