Airbus Helicopters’ EC135 T3/P3 takes to the Alps
July 16, 2014, Donauworth, Ger. - The enhanced EC135 T3/P3 version of Airbus Helicopters’ EC135 twin-engine rotorcraft demonstrated its improved performance – especially in high-and-hot operating conditions – during a three-day demonstration event in the Italian Dolomites.
By Carey Fredericks
Operating from the facilities of Helicopters Italia near the city of Trento, the helicopter conducted 14 customer and operator flights last week, confirming the significant power reserves that provide increased safety margins during flight and while maneuvering. The EC135 T3/P3 benefits from an improved flight envelope, especially in hot-and-high environment as well as CAT A and single engine performance. In addition to an enlarged rate of climb at sea level, the EC135 T3/P3 also offers an increased maximum-take-off-weight of 2,980 kg.
Customers and operators who flew the aircraft during the demonstration praised the helicopter’s noticeable improvements, saying that they could “immediately feel the difference” in comparison to the previous EC135 T2e/P2e version. They noted that “the additional power enhances safety” and offers “more reserve for emergency operations”. Others appreciated the “big step forward in performance, especially at high altitudes” as well as “the smoothness of the control” and the “stable hover” which is crucial for winching operations.
Among the enhancements integrated on this latest version of Airbus Helicopter’s light, multipurpose rotorcraft family are an enlarged main rotor, a modified air intake, modernization of the FADEC flight control software, cockpit innovations and enhanced interior versatility.
The T3/P3 designations signify the availability of two upgraded engine options on the helicopters: Turbomeca’s Arrius 2B2 “Plus” for the EC135 T3; and Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PWC 206B3 for the EC135 P3. Deliveries of EC135 T3/P3s will begin later this year.
More than 1,100 EC135s are in service worldwide, with a combined total of some three million recorded flight hours. Thanks to its versatility the EC135 is used for numerous missions including Police and Emergency Medical Services, the transport of private or business travelers, as well as advanced military training, maintenance of wind energy plants and transport flights for offshore platforms.