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Back by Popular Demand - Eurocopter's EC175
"Our customers have been involved in the design of the EC175 from the outset. In our Customer Advisory Team meetings, we listen closely to their requirements, input and operating experience," explains Lutz Bertling, President and CEO of Eurocopter. In terms of safety, aircraft accessibility, mission versatility, eco-friendliness, cabin space and comfort, the EC175 is shaping up to be a formidable contender in the medium twin class. As with the Oil and Gas transport and SAR versions we introduced one year ago, we will develop the corporate variant of the EC175 with our customers for our customers."
Presented on the booth in a 10-seat layout, the seating and equipment arrangements can be adapted to meet specific customer demands. A 14-seat corporate version is also possible. The company ensures swift retrofit capability of the EC175 to allow customers to reconfigure it for various missions as needed.
The marketing launch of the EC175 at Heli-Expo 2008, where it debuted with its Oil and Gas /SAR configuration, resulted in orders for 111 aircraft taken within three days. The program continues to follow the launch plan and is on time for several key milestones. The first airframe was delivered by Harbin Aviation Industry Co. to Eurocopter last November and prototype production is underway. The maiden flight will be performed before next HAI and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) type certification is expected for 2011. Deliveries of the Oil and Gas transport version with a seating capacity of 16 persons will commence in 2012, while the corporate variant will be available as from 2014.
Safety was paramount in the design of the EC175. Its airframe and fuel system exceed EASA CS29 crashworthiness requirements. In addition to general fail-safe design and fully redundant systems, emergency egress capacity also exceeds EASA Type IV certification requirements. Two wide pilot doors, two extra-wide, sliding passenger doors and eight large push-out windows allow 16 passengers and two pilots to leave the aircraft in a matter of seconds.
In the development of the EC175, Eurocopter has also taken into account the economic concerns of its customers and interests in minimizing maintenance costs. The overall concept of Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) was applied to optimize a preventive maintenance program which enhances safety, operational availability, reliability and cost effectiveness. This maintenance policy has been a cornerstone of the design of the EC175.
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