Helicopters Magazine

Features Procedures Safety & Training
The EC130 B4 On Tour

White on white rarely stands out. Not in this case.


July 18, 2007
By Helicopters Magazine

Topics

White on white rarely stands out. Not in this case. Hovering quietly
alongside the snow-covered peaks of the Canadian Rockies, the equally
white Eurocopter EC130 B4, highlighted with pale blue, is incapable of
fading into the background.

That is not surprising. Whether thrilling tourists by flying close
to a glacier off the Pacific coast, or slipping quietly into hospital
row along downtown Toronto’s University Avenue, it is hard to paint a
picture where Eurocopter’s largely passenger-transport aircraft would
fail to impress.

The overall quietness of the machine was certainly on the mind of
Inspector Kevin Brookwell of the Calgary Police Service’s Helicopter
Air Watch for Community Safety (HAWCS) program. HAWCS has been flying
the MD 520N (NOTAR) since June, 1995 and has seen its role expand in
the past seven years. The police may have to consider a replacement
aircraft as early as 2005.

“We were instructed by our executive committee to look at a number
of options,” Brookwell said. “In addition to upgrading, or redefining
the mission profiles, we also are looking at a couple of aircraft.
Noise is still a major issue because Calgary is a very noise-sensitive
city. It has to fall within acceptable noise limits for Calgary’s
citizens.”

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Something the EC130 B4, with a noise footprint of less than 85 dB, should have no problem doing.

Calgary was the first stop on a Canadian tour to demonstrate the
capability of the B4 to the helicopter market. Last fall, the aircraft
was put through its paces in front of more than 20 potential customers
in seven provinces. The range of observers ran from utility companies
with a fleet of aircraft, to public operators such as Hydro-Quebec and
the RCMP, to a handful of potential corporate clients whose names
Eurocopter Canada would prefer remained anonymous for now.


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