Eurocopter Launches the EC145 T2 Helicopter
The newest member of Eurocopter’s helicopter family was formally launched this week with the unveiling of its EC145 T2 – an evolved version of the popular twin-engine EC145 that incorporates new Arriel 2E engines, along with the company’s Fenestron shrouded tail rotor, upgraded main and tail rotor gear boxes, an innovative new digital avionics suite and a 4-axis autopilot.
The EC145 T2 debut was at this week’s Heli-Expo 2011 exposition in Orlando, Florida, where Eurocopter also announced launch agreements for a total of 17 helicopters from four international customers, who plan to utilize these rotary-wing aircraft in emergency medical services (EMS), oil and gas operations and business aviation.
With deliveries to begin in 2013, the EC145 T2 offers significantly improved performance, increased flight safety, enhanced human-machine interface, improved maintainability and lower operating costs for the light-medium twin-engine helicopter. It benefits from the heritage of Eurocopter’s EC145 and its BK117 predecessor, which together have logged more than 2.8 million flight hours in service around the world. “Our EC145 T2 is the latest example of our company’s continued investment in innovation, which provides helicopters that are more efficient to own and operate, with higher performance and improved safety,” said Eurocopter President & CEO Lutz Bertling.
The EC145 T2’s most visible change is the integration of Eurocopter’s proven Fenestron shrouded tail rotor, which replaces the standard two-blade tail rotor. Advantages of the Fenestron include significantly higher safety levels on the ground and in flight, along with enhanced anti-torque control efficiency, reduced power demand in forward flight, and lower sound and vibration levels.
This Fenestron application expands Eurocopter’s use of the shrouded tail rotor, which currently is on Eurocopter’s EC120, EC130, EC135, AS365 Dauphin and EC155 helicopters. For the EC145 T2, its Fenestron has new composite blades, a new-design tail gear box with lower maintenance costs, and incorporates a duplex tail rotor actuator and dual hydraulic circuits. It is installed in a new, damage-tolerant all-composite tail boom.
The EC145 T2’s new Arriel 2E turboshaft engines are digitally controlled by dual Full Authority Digital Engine Controls (FADEC), and provide increased performance throughout the helicopter’s operational range. The average performance increase is 25 percent, with significant enhancement in the OEI (one engine inoperative) flight mode.
Other changes for the EC 145 T2 include a new modular avionics suite that incorporates three large primary displays and a 4-axis autopilot as standard equipment. It provides an innovative and efficient human-machine interface for flight crews, improved situational awareness and reduced pilot workload, while also offering additional mission capabilities.
Additional launch customers for the EC145 T2 are three U.S.-based operators. Metro Aviation for five aircraft in EMS configuration; Leading Edge with one EC145 T2 for business aviation and Lewis Energy for one helicopter to be flown in oil and gas operations.