Heli-Expo: Eurocopter unveils its new EC130 T2
Eurocopter today unveiled its newest helicopter, the EC130 T2, which features enhanced comfort, improved operational performance and increased versatility for this lightweight single-engine helicopter.
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 helicopter covering a total of 105 bookings: Maverick Helicopters, Papillon Helicopters, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, Scandinavian Helicopter Group, Air Commander, Europavia and Enloe FlightCare.
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.
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.
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.