Eurocopter has unveiled its newest helicopter, the EC130 T2, which features enhanced comfort, improved operational performance and increased versatility for this popular member of the company’s lightweight single-engine product line.
While retaining the EC130’s existing external lines, approximately 70 percent of the EC130 T2’s airframe structure has been modified.
New and updated features on the helicopter include the use of a more powerful Arriel 2D turboshaft engine and upgraded main gearbox; the incorporation of an active vibration control system; improved air ventilation, distribution and demisting systems; a cabin interior structure redesign with a full flat floor; a cockpit update for enhanced man-machine interface; new energy-absorbing seats that improve weight and balance for passenger loading; integration of a crashworthy fuel tank; and increased maintenance accessibility for electrical and air conditioning systems.
The EC130 T2’s increased performance is provided by its Turbomeca Arriel 2D engine, which provides 10 percent more average power than the EC130’s current powerplant with lower specific fuel consumption. Based on the proven Arriel 2 engine family, the Arriel 2D benefits from such technology advancements as a new axial compressor and new blade materials, and also provides a higher time between overhaul (TBO) intervals. The Arriel 2D is used at its full-power rating of 952 shp. on the EC130 T2, and is the same engine that equips Eurocopter’s evolved AS350 B3e helicopter in a de-rated version.
Performance improvements for the EC130 T2 include a higher maximum gross takeoff weight (2,500 kg. for internal loads and 3,050 kg. when external loads are carried) and a speed increase of up to 10 kts. Even with these enhancements, the EC130 T2’s external sound level remains within the rules for flights at America’s Grand Canyon National Park – an important factor for tour operators.
The no. 1 EC130 T2 has logged 90 flight hours since its first flight in 2011, demonstrating maturity of the new configuration for a certification scheduled this summer. Final assembly of the initial series production aircraft began last December at Eurocopter’s Marignane, France facility. By the second half of 2012, production will transition completely to the EC130 T2 version.