- 22 Jun 2021
- Tony Kioussis
- Aviation Podcasts
Eurocopter was one of the great brands of the helicopter market from the early 1990s to 2014, when it was renamed Airbus Helicopters. The company was responsible for numerous leading platforms in the civil and military domains, including aircraft for private and Business Aviation, and the VIP and governmental markets.
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Eurocopter was renamed Airbus Helicopters in January 2014, so when discussing how much a Eurocpter helicopter costs, we include models built pre-2014. Buyers can purchase a 2013-model Eurocopter EC120 Colibri for around $1.7m and a 2013-model Eurocopter EC155 B1 for $8.0m, according to Aircraft Bluebook’s summer 2021 data. These prices represent the average retail and will vary between individual aircraft, depending on maintenance condition and other airplane-specific factors. Buyers of older Eurocopters will find cheaper aircraft available. For example, a 2000-model EC155 costs $2.2m and a 2000-model EC120 costs $575k.
As of April 2021, there were 3,892 Eurocopter helicopters flying worldwide, per JETNET. The AS350B-3 Ecrueiul has the largest in-operation fleet, with 995 units. At the time of writing, there had been 1,775 Eurocopter retirements from a total 5,673 units built.
Eurocopter helicopters offer maximum ranges between 222 nautical miles in the case of the BK 117C1, and 438nm for the EC155, according to Conklin & de Decker.
Eurocopter built helicopters for a wide range of segments of the turbine helicopter market, meaning its helicopters compete with a wide range of other pre-owned models for sale. In the single turbine market, they compete with newer versions built by Airbus, as well as helicopters manufactured by Bell, Enstrom, MD Helicopters and Leonardo/AgustaWestland. Bell, Leonardo (AgustaWestland) and MD Helicopters also produce light multi-engine turbine models to compete for market share with Eurocopter helicopters. Bell, Leonardo (AgustaWestland) and Sikorsky manufacture products in the medium multi-engine market, and, Bell, Leonardo (or AgustaWestland), and Sikorsky all produce models in the heavy twin-engine turbine market, too.
Eurocopter Turbine Helicopters Overview
By Gerrard Cowan
Eurocopter Ecureuil Family
Among these is the Eurocopter AS350 Ecureuil, a long-established name in the international market, progressively updated from the 1970s until today. This aircraft can carry five passengers and has a range of about 340nm.
The Ecureuil family has carved out a major segment of the market, with more than 6,800 helicopters produced over the decades across its different versions, including the original AS350, the Eurocopter AS350 B2, the AS350 C, and the AS350 D. The Eurocopter AS350 B3 was developed in the late 1990s.
A twin-engined version – the Eurocopter AS355 Ecureuil 2 – was also developed, and produced until 2016. A light, single-engine variant – the Eurocopter EC130 (today known as the Airbus H130) was developed and introduced from the late 1990s.
Eurocopter Colibri Brand
Another well-brown brand was the Eurocopter EC120 Colibri, later known as the H120 under Airbus’s new naming approach.
This was a significant success in the single-engine turbine helicopter market for more than 20 years, having been developed in the late 1990s by Eurocopter alongside Harbin Aviation Industries, Singapore Technologies Aerospace Ltd, and China National AeroTechnology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC). About 700 platforms were produced.
The Colibri is powered by a single Turbomeca Arrius 2F engine, and also features a Spheriflex main rotor head, energy-absorbing seats, and a Fenestron tail rotor. It has a range of 383nm, and is well-suited to the VIP and corporate markets thanks to its spacious cabin, low sound levels and other qualities.
Eurocopter EC135 and EC145 Models
Another successful helicopter family developed was the Eurocopter EC135 (today called the Airbus H135). About 1,400 units were produced from the late 1990s in various iterations, with the helicopter offering seating for six passengers in a very comfortable setting.
The Eurocopter EC145 was developed in the late 1990s, with more than 1,500 platforms built to date. This helicopter, today called the Airbus H145, is based on the MBB/Kawasaki BK 117 C1, and offers a twin-engine platform that can carry up to nine passengers.
Eurocopter Dauphins and Super Pumas
The OEM also offered the Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin, a powerful platform that offers seating for seven in VIP configuration. There have been various versions over the years, with the H155 still offered by Airbus today.
Additionally, the Eurocopter EC225 Super Puma long-range passenger transport helicopter, now known as the Airbus H225, was also produced from the early 2000s, offering a large, twin-turbine platform that can be used by VIP and corporate operators.
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