Joint Program Between Helicopter Maker And China's AVIC
The second EC175 prototype helicopter performed its first flight
at Eurocopter’s Marignane, France facility late last week,
marking another on-time milestone in the development of this
new-generation rotary-wing aircraft.
EC175 Prototype #2
Airborne for 45 minutes, the first flight validated basic
handling qualities and system functionality for the twin-engine
EC175, which is a joint program of Eurocopter and Aviation Industry
Corporation of China. (AVIC). It followed the no. 1 EC175
prototype’s maiden flight, which occurred in December 2009 at
The latest EC175 prototype is configured for oil and gas
industry transportation operations, and includes noticeably
emergency flotation gear, external life rafts, a full set of radio
navigation equipment, HTAWS functionalities, HUMS, a cargo sling
and hoist, along with a high-performance air conditioning system.
Additionally, the helicopter is near to the final version that is
scheduled for airworthiness authority certification in the second
half of 2011, enabling EC175 deliveries to begin in 2012.
As the EC175’s flight test and development pace continues
to gain momentum, the program’s industrial activity also is
continuing on schedule. The production line for EC175 airframes is
operational at Harbin, China, and the helicopter final assembly
line at Marignane is ready to receive the initial two
Chinese-produced airframes – both of which are configured for
oil and gas transport missions. Delivery of the initial airframe
from China to Eurocopter in France is expected before year-end,
while the second will arrive first half 2011.
EC175 First Flight 2009
Integrated logistics support activity for the EC175 also has
begun, and INDRA has been selected to develop the
helicopter’s first full-flight simulator.
Launched in December 2005, the EC175’s cooperative
development has been assisted by innovative new computing tools
that offer major time savings. The development and
industrialization work has been equally split between Eurocopter
and AVIC according to the specialties of each company. Two
different helicopters will result from the common platform: the
EC175 – manufactured, sold and supported by Eurocopter in
Marignane; and the Z15 –produced, marketed and supported by
the AVIC Group.
To date, a total of 114 commitments for the EC175 have been
placed by 14 customers.