Eurocopter’s first production EC175 medium-size, twin-turbine helicopter has successfully completed its first flight at the company’s headquarters in Marignane, France.
With test pilot Augustin Dupuis at the controls, the flight confirmed handling characteristics and basic performance as Eurocopter advances the design toward a late-2013 certification goal.
“With this first production series aircraft now airborne, the EC175 helicopter is a reality, and Eurocopter is very pleased to bring this new product in its civil range to the market,” said Lutz Bertling, Eurocopter’s President and CEO.
Eurocopter has been developing the EC175 in cooperation with China’s AVIC since 2008. With the first flight of the first production version in the books, the French helicopter maker announced firm performance figures including a normal cruise speed of 150 knots and a max cruise speed of 165 knots.
Powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67E engines and fitted with advanced Thales avionics, the helicopter will be sold as the EC175 throughout most of the world and as the Avicopter Z-15 in China.
“Flying the EC175 is a fantastic experience,” said Dupuis. “The excellent avionics, power, speed and low vibrations levels make it a unique aircraft.”