Eurocopter EC120 Colibri
|Role||Light utility helicopter|
Harbin Aircraft Industry Group
|First flight||9 June 1995|
|Number built||over 550|
~US$2M, €1.5M (August 2013)
The Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters) EC120 Colibri (English: hummingbird) is a 5-seat, single-engine, single main rotor, light helicopter. Jointly designed and developed by Eurocopter, China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC), Harbin Aviation Industries (Group) Ltd (HAIG) and Singapore Technologies Aerospace Ltd (STAero) at Eurocopter France's Marignane facility, the EC120 B is assembled by Eurocopter in France and Australia. In China, the aircraft is produced by Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation (HAMC) as the HC120.
In 2004, HAMC began local manufacturing of the HC120 at their assembly line in Harbin, northern China city. In the Chinese market, both the People's Liberation Army and multiple local police forces have purchased HC120 helicopters. Eurocopter has a 61% interest in the project, with CATIC owning 24% and STAero with 15% share.
Design and development
The EC120 B is mostly built from composite materials and has a fenestron tail rotor, making it a particularly quiet helicopter (FAA Appendix J flyover noise signature = 78.7 dB SEL, 6.7 dB SEL below Stage 2 limits). Certified to FAR 27 standards, the EC120 B also features crash-resistant seats and a crash-resistant fuel system.
The design of the Colibri's wide cabin makes it suitable for wide variety of civilian and parapublic missions, such as utility transport, offshore transport, training, law enforcement, casualty evacuation and corporate transport. In the casualty evacuation role, the helicopter can carry one pilot and one stretcher patient as well as one or two medical attendants. For cargo carrying, the Colibri can carry one pilot plus 2.94 m3 (104 cu ft) of total useful load volume (cabin and hold). The EC120's 0.8 m3 (28 cu ft) hold is accessible from the side and rear.
In addition to its civilian roles, the Colibri is also used by the military for training, observation and light utility missions. In the latter role, it can carry a sling load cargo of up to 700 kg (1,540 lb).
The EC120 B is able to carry equipment such as FLIR cameras, spotlights and other useful tools. Some law enforcement agencies using the EC120 B include: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the German Federal Police, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office, the Edmonton Police Service, Calgary Police Service, the York Regional Police, and the Albuquerque Police Department.
Orders for the EC120 were 12 in 2010, 13 in 2011, and 9 in 2012.
The first EC120 B was delivered in 1998. By 2008, Eurocopter had already delivered more than 550 Colibris to various customers.
In 2004, the United States Department of Homeland Security U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) selected the EC120 B to meet its Light Sign Cutter requirement, a program potentially involving 55 aircraft with a total value of US$75 million in then-year dollars. In 2006, the CBP ordered 15 EC120 B helicopters, with a further five aircraft since ordered.
In January 2008, the French Defense Ministry selected the EC120 as the French Army's new lead-in rotary-wing trainer, replacing the Aérospatiale Gazelle. 36 EC120 Bs equipped with Sagem avionics will be operated through a 22-year public-private partnership (PPP), with the first aircraft due to arrive in 2010.
In 2015, an EC120 B was used as a flying demonstrator for the European Clean Sky environmental research program. Built to trial aviation diesel technologies, the EC120 B demonstrator was equipped with a 4.6 liter turbocharged V8 Jet A piston engine (HIPE AE440 high-compression) and a multiplier gearbox in the place of the standard Arrius turboshaft powerplant; the new engine should noticeably reduce several emissions and direct operating costs while increasing range. The engine weighs about 200 kg without gearbox and cooling. Tests indicate about 30-50% less consumption.
- EC120 B Colibri: Standard designation (original designation during development was "P-120")
- HC120: Chinese-built variant of the EC120
The EC120 is used by both private individuals and companies, helicopter charter and training organizations as well as law enforcement and government use.
- Calgary Police Service
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police
- Edmonton Police Service
- York Regional Police
- Winnipeg Police Service
- Baltimore Police Department
- Austin Police Department
- Albuquerque Police Department
- Sacramento County Sheriff's Department
Specifications (EC120 B)
Data from Eurocopter EC120 B 2008 Tech Data book
- Crew: 1 or 2 pilots
- Capacity: 4 passengers
- Length: 9.6 m (31 ft 5 in)
- Rotor diameter: 10.0 m (32 ft 8 in)
- Height: 3.4 m (11 ft 2 in)
- Empty weight: 991 kg (2,185 lb)
- Useful load: 724 kg (1,596 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 1,715 kg (3,781 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × Turbomeca Arrius 2F turboshaft, 376 kW (504 shp)
- Never exceed speed: 278 km/h (150 knots, 172 mph)
- Cruise speed: 223 km/h (120 knots, 138 mph)
- Range: 710 km (383 nm, 440 mi)
- Service ceiling: 5,182 m (17,000 ft)
- Rate of climb: 5.84 m/s (1,150 ft/min)
Vehicle and Engine Multifunction Display (VEMD) with First Limit Indicator (FLI) fitted as standard.
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Bell 206
- Bell 407
- Bell 505 Jet Ranger X
- MD Helicopters MD 500
- Eurocopter AS350
- Robinson R66
- PZL SW-4
- Mark Huber and Thierry Dubois. "Bell Reveals more on ‘short light single’". AIN online, 3 August 2013. Accessed: 11 December 2013.
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- American Eurocopter
- French Ministry of Defense
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- Warwick, Graham. "Clean Sky Prepares For Helo Diesel Flight Tests." Clean Sky Prepares For Helo Diesel Flight Tests, 20 March 2015.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Eurocopter EC 120.|
- Official Eurocopter EC120 B Website
- EC120 webpage on American Eurocopter website
- UK-CAA & JAA Type Certificate Data Sheet
- Harbin Aviation Industries producer of the HC120
- EC120 productionlist details about and productionlist of the EC120 and HC120