Performed with the no. 1 series production EC175, the three-week multi-state tour enabled pilots, support personnel, managers and others to experience the EC175’s capabilities first-hand during flights conducted from locations along the U.S. Gulf Coast. The helicopter also came to Las Vegas, Nev. for display at the Heli-Expo 2013 industry show.
Eurocopter said converging feedback included high marks for the helicopter’s responsiveness, its smooth and quiet ride, visibility, flight system and cabin comfort.
“The EC175 is the first helicopter to be truly designed with customers in mind, taking into account extensive consultation with operators and end-users,” said Eurocopter president and CEO Lutz Bertling. “Feedback from throughout the EC175’s U.S. demonstration tour confirms our success in meeting their needs.”
Pilots from multiple oil and gas airlift providers — along with those from law enforcement agencies and emergency medical transportation operators — were given time at the EC175’s controls, while employees of these companies were aboard the helicopter in the evaluations performed from Feb. 25 to March 15.
During more than 50 flight hours logged in the demonstrations, 285 crew members and passengers were flown in on-shore and off-shore operations.
Among the comments received were: “The EC175 flies like a magic carpet — smooth and quiet;” “Its avionics system is second to none;” “Performance is superior, with excellent acceleration and deceleration;” “Visibility is outstanding;” and “The EC175 is simply the most advanced, safety-oriented helicopter in the world today.”
The helicopter’s new Helionix avionics was widely praised by pilots who were able to assess this advanced system’s flight envelope protection, pilot assistance and situational awareness in their hands-on evaluations. Helionix further extends the avionics systems already proven on Eurocopter’s EC225 helicopter, and incorporates the most innovative alerting and self-monitoring system. “There is no other aircraft available today with an avionics suite as advanced as on the EC175,” one pilot said. “The EC175 has superior safety qualities along with superior performance qualities.”
In addition, the oil and gas community confirmed the EC175’s speed advantage: a recommended cruise speed of 150 knots in smooth flight conditions, with a maximum cruise speed that exceeds 165 knots.
Highlighted as well during the demonstrations was the EC175’s range, providing the reach needed by off-shore service providers and other operators. An oil and gas-configured EC175 is capable of carrying 16 passengers to a radius of action (RoA) of 140 nautical miles, while an ultra long-range reach approaching an RoA of 200 nautical miles is possible when 12 passengers are carried.
Also recognized by the operators is Eurocopter’s commitment to provide a mature helicopter at the EC175’s service entry, supported by a dedicated task force and tools that include validated support and services deliverables, along with established training capabilities.
During its U.S. visit, Eurocopter organized EC175 visits to New Iberia, Lafayette and Lake Charles, La.; concluding with a three-day wrap-up at Houston, Texas. These stopovers included presentations on topics that ranged from operations and performance to Eurocopter’s innovative support and services available for the EC175.
The EC175 has been airlifted back to Europe aboard a chartered cargo jetliner, and this helicopter is to be used for follow-on demonstration tours planned later in 2013 to several additional regions of the world.