Airbus Helicopters' first enhanced EC135 T3/P3 enters service with Aiut Alpin Dolomites in high-altitude rescue operations

Pontives, Italy, (PresseBox) - The world's newest light-weight twin-engine rotorcraft is now in service with the operational start-up of Airbus Helicopters' upgraded EC135 T3/P3 of Aiut Alpin Dolomites - a northern Italy-based Alpine mountain rescue service.

Aiut Alpin Dolomites' operations benefit from Airbus Helicopters' enhancements incorporated in this latest variant of the versatile EC135 family, which include significant power reserves for increased safety margins during flight and while maneuvering; an improved flight envelope, especially in hot-and-high environments; and an increased maximum takeoff weight of 2,980 kg.

The upgraded EC135 is available in two versions with its corresponding upgraded engine options: Turbomeca's Arrius 2B2 "Plus" for the EC135 T3; and Pratt & Whitney Canada's PWC 206B3 for the EC135 P3.

"The EC135 T3/P3 represents Airbus Helicopters' commitment to the continual improvement of our products, further improving a helicopter family that already is the worldwide reference for airborne emergency medical services, law enforcement and other critical missions," said Wolfgang Schoder, CEO of Airbus Helicopters Germany, which builds the EC135 at its Donauwörth industrial facility.

Aiut Alpin Dolomites - a voluntary mountain rescue association performing some 700 air rescue operations annually, often in difficult and challenging conditions - selected the EC135 T3 configuration. The association currently operates an EC135 T2, which is deployed on the steep slopes and ski areas of the Dolomite mountains. Aiut Alpin Dolomites is also called upon to provide emergency and medical services at special events such as auto racing.

"The EC135 T3's improvements are impressive," commented Raffel Kostner, one of the founders of Aiut Alpin Dolomites, after a demonstration flight in the association's new helicopter today. "It provides the rescue teams with tremendous power reserves and augmented performance for the high-altitude missions that are an integral part of our operations."

Enhancements to the EC135 T3/P3 range from an enlarged main rotor and modernization of the FADEC full-authority digital flight control software to a cockpit with fully integrated avionics for navigation and communications. Among the most visible changes are the elimination of horizontal stabilizer endplates utilized on other EC135 versions, the integration of lateral engine air intakes and the use of a new mini tail bumper.

Aiut Alpin Dolomites' EC135 T3 also is equipped with Airbus Helicopters' new optional multifunctional floor, which is specifically tailored for emergency medical services (EMS) missions and replaces the need for a second floor - thereby saving weight.

Airbus Helicopters has delivered nearly 1,200 EC135s to customers around the globe, which have logged more than 3 million flight hours. One-quarter of this total fleet is deployed for EMS duties.

About Aiut Alpin Dolomites

Aiut Alpin Dolomites is a voluntary association registered in the Authorities of Social Economic Utility Registrar (Onlus) performing aerial mountain rescue. It is formed by seventeen individual Mountain Rescue Teams which are associated and operate mainly in the Ladin Valleys of the Dolomites mountain range. Officially founded in 1990, Aiut Alpin Dolomites has performed more than 10,000 mountain and ski slope missions primarily in the neighboring Dolomites on behalf of the Bozen public safety answer point. In addition to mountain rescue, Aiut Alpin Dolomites also handles roadway missions, medical emergencies, occupational accidents and hospital transport in and outside of Italy.

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Airbus Helicopters

Airbus Helicopters, formerly Eurocopter, is a division of Airbus Group, a global pioneer in aerospace and defense related services. Airbus Helicopters is the world's No. 1 helicopter manufacturer and employs more than 23,000 people worldwide. With 46 percent market share in civil and parapublic sectors, the company's fleet in service includes some 12,000 helicopters operated by more than 3,000 customers in approximately 150 countries. Airbus Helicopters' international presence is marked by its customer centers and participations in 21 countries, and its worldwide network of service centers, training facilities, distributors and certified agents. Airbus Helicopters' range of civil and military helicopters is the world's largest; its aircraft account for one third of the worldwide civil and parapublic fleet. The company's chief priority is to ensure the safe operation of its aircraft for the thousands of people who fly more than 3 million hours per year.

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