Airbus Helicopters EC175

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EC175
F-WWPB (8970723436).jpg
Role Medium utility helicopter
Manufacturer Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter Group)
Harbin Aircraft Industry Group (HAIG)
First flight 17 December 2009

The Airbus Helicopters EC175 (also Avicopter Z-15) is a 7-ton class medium utility helicopter being developed by Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter Group) and AVIC. Formally launched at Heli-Expo in Houston on 24 February 2008, the EC175 was due to be certified in 2011, with Airbus Helicopters aiming to sell approximately 800 to 1,000 EC175s over 20 years.[1][2]

Development[edit]

An EC 175 prototype during a demonstration flight

A development contract for the EC175 was signed on 5 December 2005, with Preliminary Design Review (PDR) completed on 5 December 2006 and Critical Design Review (CDR) completed on 5 December 2007. Development of the EC175 is expected to cost €600 million.[1] The EC175 is being developed through close cooperation with existing operators, through a customer advisory team (CAT) approach.[3]

During the EC175's formal unveiling at Heli-Expo 2008, Eurocopter booked a total of 111 purchase options from 13 customers, including launch customers Bristow Helicopters and the VIH Aviation Group.[4] During the Zhuhai Airshow in November 2008, a letter of intent for 5 Z-15s was signed between HAIG and Chinese domestic general-purpose aviation company Longken General Aviation Cooperation.[5]

First flown on the 4 December 2009,[6] the prototype had its official maiden flight on 17 December 2009 in Marignane, France.[7] Certification with the EASA will take place in 2013, with initial deliveries in 2013.

An initial assembly line for the EC175 is expected to be established at Airbus Helicopters' Marignane plant, with a second Airbus Helicopters assembly line to follow three or four years later.[8]

The EC175 holds the 3km[9] and 6km[10] time-to-climb records for its class, ratified by FAI, at about a minute per kilometre.

Design[edit]

The EC175 will be built for civilian and parapublic applications, its primary markets being support of the oil and gas industry and search and rescue missions. Other applicable roles include parapublic operations, homeland security, air medical services, utility missions and corporate transportation.

The EC175 will be extensively designed and built using computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM). The gears and the casing of the EC175's main gearbox (MGB) have, for example, been completely developed using CATIA V5, a first for Airbus Helicopters.[1] The use of CAD has allowed Airbus Helicopters and HAIG to create a virtual mock-up, simplifying the task of coordinating between partners based 10,000 km apart.[11] The first EC175 airframe structure was delivered by HAIG to Airbus Helicopters Marignane in November 2008.[12]

Airbus Helicopters will have responsibility for the EC175's main gearbox, tail rotor, avionics, autopilot, hydraulic and electrical systems, doors and transparencies. Airbus Helicopters will also be the technical lead and system integrator, and will build two of the three prototypes (the first and third). HAIG will be responsible for the airframe, tail and intermediate gearboxes, main rotor, fuel system, flight controls and landing gear.[13]

The EC175 will be powered by two 1,325 kW (1,775 shp) class, Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC)-equipped Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67E turboshafts, with 5,000 hour time between overhaul (TBO) and on-condition maintenance.[14] The aircraft will use a five-blade Spheriflex main rotor and a three-blade tail rotor. The EC175's main gearbox will incorporate two accessory gearboxes and will be de-clutchable, avoiding the cost and weight of an auxiliary power unit (APU).[15]

The EC175 will be offered with a 16-seat interior for oil and gas transport, with easy access through wide sliding doors, and will feature oversized jettisonable windows. The EC175 will feature a flat floor, and will omit any partition between the cockpit and the cabin. The aircraft will be offered with optional auxiliary fuel tanks under the cabin floor.[15]

The EC175's cockpit will feature four 6X8 inch multi-function LCD displays, plus an optional central mission display. The EC175's state-of-the-art avionics are derived from those developed for the EC225, and include a 4-axis dual duplex autopilot, linked to the aircraft's Flight Management System.[13][15]

The EC175 is expected to exceed EASA CS-29[16] crashworthiness requirements.[citation needed] It is to be certified for full Category A dual pilot operation. The aircraft will have Sea State 6 capability, and will be equipped with two oversized 12-18 passenger life rafts. Airbus Helicopters states that the EC175's noise signature will be "way below" International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) requirements.[15]

Variants[edit]

EC175
Aircraft produced by Airbus Helicopters for the European, American and international markets.
Z-15
Aircraft produced by HAIG for Chinese operators. The People's Liberation Army also plans to take delivery of the Z-15 in the next decade to replace much of their existing fleet (older Mil Mi-8, Sikorsky S-70, Harbin Z-8 and Harbin Z-9). The Z-15's performance and ruggedness will probably be improved, if it goes into PLA service. In March 1999, Agusta announced that it had signed a US$30 million initial contract with AVIC II and CATIC to develop the gear box and transmission components for the CMH.[17]

Specifications (EC175)[edit]

Data from Airbus Helicopters website[18]

General characteristics

Performance

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Airbus Helicopters Rotor News 75. "EC175, a star is born"
  2. ^ Warwick, Graham. "Heli-Expo 2008: Eurocopter unveils EC175, names launch customers." Flight Global. Flightglobal.com. Accessed 28 February 2008.
  3. ^ Eurocopter Rotor News 76. "The EC175 arrives on the scene"
  4. ^ Airbus Helicopters Press Release. "Major success for Eurocopter at Heli-Expo 2008: 111 signatures for its brand new EC175, 120 orders for its current range"
  5. ^ Rotorhub. "First EC175 airframe delivered to Eurocopter in China"
  6. ^ Scramble (Dutch Aviation Society) (368). January 2010. ISSN 0927-3417. 
  7. ^ Avicopter ponders alternative engine following EC175 first flight
  8. ^ Thomson Financial News. "Eurocopter CEO defends buy of German company, Romania outsourcing"
  9. ^ "E-1g (Helicopters: take off weight 6000 to 10000 kg) - Time to climb to a height of 3 000 m". Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI). Accessed: 17 June 2014.
  10. ^ "E-1g (Helicopters: take off weight 6000 to 10000 kg) - Time to climb to a height of 6 000 m". Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI). Accessed: 17 June 2014.
  11. ^ Airbus Helicopters Rotor News 66. "Immediate Results"
  12. ^ Airbus Group. "Eurocopter receives the first airframe structure for the EC175 prototype from Chinese Harbin Aviation Industry Co."
  13. ^ a b Aviation Week & Space Technology, 7 April 2008.
  14. ^ Aviation International News. "New Rotorcraft"
  15. ^ a b c d Airbus Helicopters EC175 trifold brochure, March 2008.
  16. ^ CS-29 (Large Rotorcraft). EASA, 17 November 2008.
  17. ^ "Z-15 Chinese Medium Helicopter (CMH)". AirForceWorld.com. Retrieved 29 Aug 2011. 
  18. ^ http://www.AirbusHelicopters.com/site/en/ref/Characteristics_868.html
  19. ^ [1]

External links[edit]