World’s first enhanced EC135 T3/P3 enters service
Dec. 10, 2014, Pontives, Italy - The world’s newest light-weight twin-engine rotorcraft is now in service with the operational start-up of Airbus Helicopters’ upgraded EC135 T3/P3 of Aiut Alpin Dolomites – a northern Italy-based Alpine mountain rescue service.
By Carey Fredericks
Aiut Alpin Dolomites’ operations benefit from Airbus Helicopters’ enhancements incorporated in this latest variant of the versatile EC135 family, which include significant power reserves for increased safety margins during flight and while maneuvering; an improved flight envelope, especially in hot-and-high environments; and an increased maximum takeoff weight of 2,980 kg.
The upgraded EC135 is available in two versions with its corresponding upgraded engine options: Turbomeca’s Arrius 2B2 “Plus” for the EC135 T3; and Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PWC 206B3 for the EC135 P3.
“The EC135 T3/P3 represents Airbus Helicopters’ commitment to the continual improvement of our products, further improving a helicopter family that already is the worldwide reference for airborne emergency medical services, law enforcement and other critical missions,” said Wolfgang Schoder, CEO of Airbus Helicopters Germany, which builds the EC135 at its Donauwörth industrial facility.
Aiut Alpin Dolomites – a voluntary mountain rescue association performing some 700 air rescue operations annually, often in difficult and challenging conditions – selected the EC135 T3 configuration. The association currently operates an EC135 T2, which is deployed on the steep slopes and ski areas of the Dolomite mountains. Aiut Alpin Dolomites is also called upon to provide emergency and medical services at special events such as auto racing.
“The EC135 T3’s improvements are impressive,” commented Raffel Kostner, one of the founders of Aiut Alpin Dolomites, after a demonstration flight in the association’s new helicopter today. “It provides the rescue teams with tremendous power reserves and augmented performance for the high-altitude missions that are an integral part of our operations.”
Enhancements to the EC135 T3/P3 range from an enlarged main rotor and modernization of the FADEC full-authority digital flight control software to a cockpit with fully integrated avionics for navigation and communications. Among the most visible changes are the elimination of horizontal stabilizer endplates utilized on other EC135 versions, the integration of lateral engine air intakes and the use of a new mini tail bumper.
Aiut Alpin Dolomites’ EC135 T3 also is equipped with Airbus Helicopters’ new optional multifunctional floor, which is specifically tailored for emergency medical services (EMS) missions and replaces the need for a second floor – thereby saving weight.