Eurocopter delivers 1,000th Dauphin helicopter
April 19, 2011, Marignane, Fra. - Eurocopter’s 1,000th helicopter from its Dauphin family was delivered today to India’s Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited, the world’s largest civilian operator of this successful twin-engine, medium weight rotary-wing aircraft.
By Carey Fredericks
Pawan Hans’ milestone helicopter is an AS365 N3 version, configured for offshore oil and gas drilling missions, and it brings the Indian operator’s fleet to a total of 35 Dauphins.
The Dauphin is known by its distinctive shape, with the helicopter’s nose recalling the form of a dolphin – the mammal after which its French name is derived. Since the 1970s, Dauphins have been in service with some 300 customers in 69 countries, accumulating a combined total of more than 5.1 million flight hours. These helicopters are used in a full range of operations on land and at sea, earning a reputation for mission capability, cost-effectiveness, ease of operation and flight safety. Since 1981, the Dauphin also has been available in the AS565 Panther military version.
Marking the 25-year association of Eurocopter with its key Indian customer at today’s delivery were Eurocopter President & CEO Lutz Bertling; and Sanjiv Bahl the Executive director of Pawan Hans; who were joined by Joseph Saporito, Eurocopter’s Executive Vice President for Commercial Programs; and Cécile Arnaud the Sales & Marketing director of Eurocopter India Pvt Ltd.
“The 1,000th Dauphin delivery is an historic moment for Eurocopter, and it is particularly appropriate that we are sharing the event with Pawan Hans, which is the civil operator of reference for this highly capable helicopter,” Bertling stated. “Eurocopter is fully committed to supporting Pawan Hans’ continued success, which includes our creation of the Eurocopter India subsidiary, and the reinforcement of our services network in India.”
Pawan Hans is Eurocopter’s leading client in India, and it operates the country’s largest fleet of Eurocopter helicopters. These aircraft are used for the transportation of personnel to offshore platforms, in shuttle flights between drill barges, for the airlift of state officials and VIPs, along with tourism charter services.
“The Eurocopter Dauphin is perfectly tailored to our needs, having successfully served us for 25 years,” Sanjiv Bahl said. “Looking ahead, we are relying on the Dauphin for future growth, as the version N3 offers very good operating performance in terms of speed, power with long range capabilities, noise reduction and customer comfort. Further we have acquired significant operating expertise in terms of operations and maintenance of Dauphin series with the state of
the art workshops in Mumbai. We have highly experienced pilots and skilled technical manpower that work to our stringent safety standards and achieve high fleet utilization with excellent serviceability track record. Dauphin today is the flagship fleet for Pawan Hans due to its proven track record in offshore and onshore sectors with its reliable operations. We look forward to building on Eurocopter’s know-how and support in terms of setting up MRO in India and in delivering the best value to our customers.”
Pawan Hans’ Dauphin fleet has logged more than 375,000 flight hours, with an availability rate of over 80 percent. In addition to its own operations, the company has an agreement with Eurocopter for propose creation of MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) facility in India to service Dauphin series helicopters.
“The Dauphin is a true success story, and has directly contributed to our leadership position in the rotary-wing aircraft industry,” Eurocopter’s Saporito said. “It also represents our company’s continuous innovation, including use of the Fenestron – which provides significantly higher operating safety levels, enhanced flight control, along with lower sound and vibration levels.”
Among the helicopter’s milestones and achievements are its speed record of 372 km./hr., set in November 1991 over a 3-km. course; the Dauphin’s use in extreme operations, including rescue missions by the U.S. Coast Guard following Hurricane Katrina in 2005; along with transportation duties for VIPs and heads-of-state such as Indian Prime Minister Indira Ghandi.
The Dauphin family has been improved over the years to meet evolving market requirements. Its latest version – the AS365 N3e/AS565 MBe – will provide improved hot-and-high performance while incorporating new technologies and systems. With deliveries targeted to begin in late 2013, its primary enhancements are the introduction of Arriel 2N engines with dual-channel FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Controls), use of the main gearbox from Eurocopter’s EC155 helicopter, the incorporation of a new Starflex rotor head, and the application of a reinforced main rotor mast. These upgrades are to provide a 15 percent increase in power for better performance, a significant payload gain with the maximum takeoff weight increased to 4.5 metric tons, and reductions in maintenance and operating costs.