Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Z-15 (AC352) Chinese EC175

The EC175, the latest member of the Eurocopter range, today performed its official maiden flight in the skies above Marignane. At the controls were Alain Di Bianca, Eurocopter Experimental Test Pilot, as well as Michel Oswald and Patrick Bremont, Flight Test Engineers. Officials, industrial partners, launch customers and Eurocopter employees were all on hand for the event. This newest addition to the Eurocopter family in the 7-metric-ton class has been developed and manufactured in cooperation with the China Aeronautics Industries Group Corp. (AVIC), a longstanding Eurocopter partner.

"It's an immense pleasure to see the EC175 soaring through the skies," declared Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling. "This helicopter was developed in close cooperation with our customers to ensure it would be perfectly suited to their needs—particularly in terms of safety and comfort. This is the product everyone's been waiting for on the civil market. I would like to congratulate and thank our colleagues from China, all our personnel who invested so much time and effort in this project, and, of course, our industrial partners. Their combined efforts have made it possible for the EC175 to perform its maiden flight right on schedule, that’s to say exactly four years after the program was launched, which is a real technological wizardry. "

The new generation EC175 has a multirole design and can carry out a wide scope of civil missions. It slots perfectly into the Eurocopter range between the AS365 Dauphin (4/5 metric tons) and the AS332/EC225 Super Puma (9/11 metric tons) families. It benefits from a mix of proven and advanced technologies, making it a very performing and reliable helicopter. Depending on its configuration, it can hold up to 16 passengers. A total of 114 EC175s have already been ordered by 14 different customers. Certification of the EC175 by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is slated for 2011, and the first deliveries are scheduled to follow in 2012. Eurocopter expects to sell 800 EC175s over the next twenty years, creating nearly 2000 new direct and indirect jobs


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