Papillon Helicopters, the world's oldest and largest helicopter sightseeing company, will further expand its Eurocopter EC130 B4 fleet with an order for a 14th aircraft—as announced today at Heli-Expo.
This latest acquisition underscores the EC130’s position as a helicopter of choice for aerial tour operators worldwide, with features that include a spacious cabin, excellent visibility and high reliability.
The aircraft’s Fenestron® tail rotor, with its automatic control of rotor RPM, provides a significantly reduced noise level—an important operational plus in such sensitive areas as the Grand Canyon, where Papillon Helicopters performs its daily tours.
Since 1965, Papillon Helicopters has flown an estimated 600,000 passengers annually on flights to the Grand Canyon. The operator is certified to fly to both the South and West Rims of this American landmark, and also has three landing sites on the Grand Canyon's floor.
Eurocopter Outlines its Strategy for 2010 and Beyond
Transforming innovation into customer value
Eurocopter is in a strong position to maintain the company’s market leadership over the near term, as it sets to prepare for the future with innovations that will further reduce the environmental footprint of its helicopters, enhance their operational safety and enable the Group to deliver superior customer value.
This was the main message of President & CEO Lutz Bertling at Eurocopter’s Heli-Expo show-opening press breakfast, which attracted news media from around the world.
“In today’s challenging market conditions, we believe now is the time to push innovation, to move ahead with research and technology, and develop new aircraft to be ready when the next market upturn comes,” he told reporters.
Bertling said 2009 was better than expected for Eurocopter in terms of turnover, and it was the company’s second best year for consolidated order intake value—driven by government business, new orders for larger helicopters, and its growing service and support activities.
In additional to the major focus on innovation, Lutz said the Group will continue to develop its support and services business, one of the company’s main growth paths in the coming years.
One of the smaller exhibits on Eurocopter’s Heli-Expo 2010 display stand has attracted a significant amount of attention from today’s mid-morning opening of the helicopter industry’s largest trade show.
This exhibit is the innovative OPOC™ (Opposite Piston Opposite Cylinder) engine from U.S.-based EcoMotors International, which illustrates Eurocopter’s goal of flying a light helicopter powered by a diesel engine.
The EM100 is a compact, high-compression engine that operates on the 2-cycle principle—generating one power stroke per crank-revolution per cylinder. It comprises two opposing cylinders per module, with a crankshaft between them, and each cylinder has two pistons moving in opposite directions.
“We are exploring different avenues in diesel power for a light single-engine helicopter, and the OPOC concept is one of many options we are pursuing,” explained Olivier Jouis, Eurocopter’s Head of Environmental Affairs. “We believe diesel is an eco-efficient solution for the future of small helicopters—as it can slash fuel consumption by as much as 40 percent.”
Jouis said Eurocopter’s objective is to work with diesel engine manufacturers to reach power-to-weight ratios that can challenge the advantages of a classic turbine.
This morning during Heli-Expo, Mr. Ken Norie, President and CEO of VIH Aviation Group of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, alongside President & CEO Lutz Bertling, announced the purchase of two new Eurocopter EC225s.
The helicopters will be used for offshore oil and gas transportation around Australia. The machines will be operated by HNZ Cougar Helicopters Pty. Ltd., a new joint venture launched during October 2009 that combines the VIH Aviation Group and New Zealand’s HNZ Helicopters in order to serve the Australian offshore market.
The EC225 offers the offshore oil and gas industry superior speed, range, payload, safety and reliability. It is the newest member of the Super Puma/Cougar family, which has logged more than 4 million flight hours. The EC225 can accommodate up to 19 passengers for offshore crew change flights.
VIH’s announcement to acquire the EC225 is further proof of the Group’s confidence in the quality of Eurocopter’s products. VIH is also the Canadian launch partner for the EC175. With a fleet of some 72 single and twin-engine helicopters and 20 more on order, the VIH Aviation Group flies from strategically located bases across the globe for a wide range of requirements including all-weather and deep-water offshore operations.
Eurocopter is known for innovation, which has kept its products at the forefront of the rotary-wing industry for decades.
Today, the company’s resources are being applied to the bluecopter® technology program, which will make Eurocopter helicopters even more environmentally friendly. bluecopter® innovation is spotlighted at Eurocopter’s Heli-Expo 2010 exhibit stand—underscoring the scope of this program, and also demonstrating the maturity of some of these technologies.
“bluecopter® is not a fashion trend, it is the future of Eurocopter,” said Olivier Jouis, Eurocopter’s Head of Environmental Affairs. “This is our way of showing how serious we are about addressing the ever-growing environmental challenges for the helicopter industry.”
“bluecopter® is a continuous improvement effort that will benefit the company’s entire range of rotary-wing products,” Jouis added. Research is being conducted in five areas: emissions, noise, hazardous materials, recyclability and renewable resources. The environmental performance of each of these areas is assessed over the entire life cycle of Eurocopter products: from manufacturing to recycling, including the operations phase.
Eurocopter is just days away from showing the helicopter world some of its key R&D innovations at Heli-Expo in Houston, Texas. Demonstrating its innovative flair and continued ability to provide optimum customer value, Eurocopter will introduce bluecopter® technology and present new main rotor and blade concepts, new pilot assistance and flight monitoring technologies, a highly effective fire fighting system as well as new service offers at Heli-Expo 2010 in Houston, Texas.
In addition, an EC130 owned by Air Methods, an EC135 from ADAC Air Rescue of Germany, an EC145 from Children’s Mercy Hospital, an AS350 from Canada’s Slave Lake Helicopters and a full-scale EC175 in search and rescue (SAR) configuration will be on display at Eurocopter’s booth.
Eurocopter has been at the forefront of rotorcraft technology for the past decades, and Heli-Expo is a great venue for the company to demonstrate its leading edge in innovation.