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  • EC135

    Airbus Helicopters has released an update on its checks of the fuel sensors in the worldwide EC135 fleet.

    On Feb. 20, Airbus Helicopters stated that it had received reports or a total of 1,506 sensors on 753 aircraft. This represents 70 percent of the global EC135 fleet, which encompasses 1,050 helicopters and 2,100 sensors.

    In total, 99 fuel probes registered outside the tolerance level specified in an Alert Service Bulletin issued on Dec. 19. Of these, 62 showed deviations of less than three kilograms, which equals less than one minute of flight time. Although a cleaning and drying process restored the proper functioning of all fuel probes, five sensors did not recover the required specification and had to be replaced.

    According to Airbus Helicopters, reliability analysis of the main tank fuel sensors conducted in parallel shows that there is no issue with the main tank probes, nor with the fuel transfer system and associated indications. Also, on all tested helicopters, the independent red "LOW FUEL" warning operated as expected on both supply tanks.

    The Alert Service Bulletin was prompted by the discovery of supply-tank fuel gauging errors in EC135 helicopters flown by Bond Air Services and two other operators in Europe. According to the bulletin, tests have confirmed that the EC135’s fuel content probes generate erroneously high signals if contamination with water occurs.

    For more updates from Airbus Helicopters and to read the relevant Alert Service Bulletins and Safety Information Notices on the Airbus Helicopters website click here.

  • #2
    EC135 Testbed

    A modified EC135 has been spotted at Airbus Helicopters’ development facility in Donauwörth, Germany. Most striking is the light twin’s new horizontal stabiliser which has been moved to the top of the vertical fin.

    The bottom of the aircraft's fin also has a different design and the tailboom now appears to have a circular cross-section. In addition, the helicopter sports five main rotor blades–instead of four and the blades have swept tips. The landing gear has also been redesigned.

    Airbus' new EC135 testbed, D-HEEX, as seen at their facility in Donauwörth, Germany (Photo: Alexander Lutz)​

    Asked whether the helicopter is the prototype of a new EC135 variant, Airbus Helicopters answered that it is “testing environmentally friendly technologies on a demonstrator aircraft.” While this EC135 is being used as a testbed, Airbus said the technologies should be seen as “transversal,” meaning not specifically intended for any one particular helicopter model.

    Meanwhile, the manufacturer is gearing-up for the first delivery of the latest EC135 T3/P3 which was previously delayed to the fourth quarter. Announced at Heli-Expo 2013, the new model offers several improvements over the current EC135 T2i/P2i, yielding a 66-pound MTOW increase and improved hot/high performance.​


    • #3
      First Enhanced EC135 T3/P3 Enters Service with Aiut Alpin Dolomites in High-Altitude Rescue Operations

      The first enhanced EC135 T3/P3 is now in service with Aiut Alpin Dolomites – a northern Italy-based Alpine mountain rescue service.

      Aiut Alpin Dolomites’ operations benefit from Airbus Helicopters’ enhancements incorporated in this latest variant of the versatile EC135 family, which include significant power reserves for increased safety margins during flight and while maneuvering; an improved flight envelope, especially in hot-and-high environments; and an increased maximum takeoff weight of 2,980 kg.

      The first EC135 T3/P3 is now is service with Aiut Alpin in northern Italy

      The upgraded EC135 is available in two versions with its corresponding upgraded engine options: Turbomeca’s Arrius 2B2 “Plus” for the EC135 T3; and Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PWC 206B3 for the EC135 P3.

      “The EC135 T3/P3 represents Airbus Helicopters’ commitment to the continual improvement of our products, further improving a helicopter family that already is the worldwide reference for airborne emergency medical services, law enforcement and other critical missions,” said Wolfgang Schoder, CEO of Airbus Helicopters Germany, which builds the EC135 at its Donauwörth industrial facility.

      Aiut Alpin Dolomites – a voluntary mountain rescue association performing some 700 air rescue operations annually, often in difficult and challenging conditions – selected the EC135 T3 configuration. The association currently operates an EC135 T2, which is deployed on the steep slopes and ski areas of the Dolomite mountains. Aiut Alpin Dolomites is also called upon to provide emergency and medical services at special events such as auto racing.
      “The EC135 T3’s improvements are impressive,” commented Raffel Kostner, one of the founders of Aiut Alpin Dolomites, after a demonstration flight in the association’s new helicopter today. “It provides the rescue teams with tremendous power reserves and augmented performance for the high-altitude missions that are an integral part of our operations.”

      Enhancements to the EC135 T3/P3 range from an enlarged main rotor and modernization of the FADEC full-authority digital flight control software to a cockpit with fully integrated avionics for navigation and communications. Among the most visible changes are the elimination of horizontal stabilizer endplates utilized on other EC135 versions, the integration of lateral engine air intakes and the use of a new mini tail bumper.

      Aiut Alpin Dolomites’ EC135 T3 also is equipped with Airbus Helicopters’ new optional multifunctional floor, which is specifically tailored for emergency medical services (EMS) missions and replaces the need for a second floor – thereby saving weight.