The Eurocopter EC175 is a twin engine, medium utility helicopter being designed and manufactured jointly by Eurocopter, France and the Harbin Aviation Industry Group (HAIG) of China. The Chinese version of EC175 is designated as Z-15. Eurocopter plans to sell 800 to 1,000 EC175s in over 20 years. Each EC175 will cost around €600m.

Development

A cooperation agreement for developing the EC175 was signed in October 2004 during President Chirac’s official visit to China. A contract to build the helicopter was awarded in December 2005. The EC175 development started in 2006 and the aircraft is being built through a customer advisory team (CAT) procedure.

The development of EC175 is being implemented through a 50/50 joint venture, with separate assembly lines in France and China. Eurocopter will design and develop the main gearbox, tail rotor, avionics, autopilot system, hydraulics, electricals, doors and transparencies for the first two prototypes.

HAIG will build the airframe, tail transmission, main rotor, fuel system, flight controls and landing gear. The company delivered the maiden EC175 airframe structure made up of aluminium alloys to Eurocopter Marignane in November 2008.

The first prototype took its maiden flight on 17 December 2009 in Marignane, France. The second prototype completed its first flight on 17 December 2010.

The EC175 will be certified for two-pilot instrument flight rules (IFR) and a single-pilot visual flight rules (VFR) operations. The EASA, FAA, and TCAA certifications are scheduled in 2011 with initial deliveries planned for 2012.

“Eurocopter received 111 orders for EC175 from 13 customers in 2008.”

Orders and deliveries

Eurocopter received 111 orders for EC175 from 13 customers in 2008. A letter of intent for five Z-15s was signed between HAIG and Chinese Longken General Aviation Corporation during the Zhuhai Air Show in November 2008.

Design

The Eurocopter EC175 has been designed to execute both military and civil operations. The preliminary design review of the helicopter was completed on 5 December 2006. The critical design review was approved exactly a year later.

The helicopter can execute oil and gas transportation, search and rescue, homeland security, emergency medical service, pilot training and VIP transport missions. The main gear box of the EC175 is designed using Catia V5 technology.

The EC175 is fitted with a five-bladed Spheriflex main rotor and a three-bladed tail rotor. These blades decrease the vibrations and noise while improving the lift and speed of the helicopter.

AD Aerospace will provide a tail-mounted camera system to Eurocopter as part of a contract signed in December 2010.

Features

The EC175 has eight large jettisonable windows, two passenger doors, a flat door and two cockpit doors. The helicopter is fitted with four standard fuel tanks which can carry 2,300l.

An additional auxiliary fuel tank under the cabin floor can carry more than 90l of fuel during long range missions. The de-clutch capacity of the helicopter provides auxiliary power unit (APU) benefits.

Flight deck

The EC175 has a spacious flight deck equipped with four multi functional displays (MFD) and a central mission display (CMD). The helicopter is equipped with an advanced avionics suite, which includes a four-axis dual duplex autopilot, emergency floatation devices, a flight management system, a 4-axis digital automatic flight control system, a traffic collision and avoidance system (TCAS) and an enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS).

The avionics systems will be integrated with full authority digital engine control (FADEC) to decrease the workload of the pilot and improve pilot precision even in robust weather conditions.

Cabin

The EC175 features a spacious and comfortable cabin with plenty of space for passengers onboard. The cabin can be accessed through wide sliding doors fitted on either side of the fuselage. It can accommodate 16 passengers.

Two large upward facing hatches provide access to the 83ft³ (2.35m³) baggage compartment. Cabin versatility allows the helicopter to quickly reconfigure for different missions.

Engines

Pratt & Whitney Canada will supply PT6C-67E turbine engines for the EC175, under a contract awarded in May 2007. The helicopter is powered by two engines. Each engine can produce 1,325kW of output power.

“The Eurocopter EC175 can fly at a maximum speed of 315km/h.”

It is fitted with a multi-stage axial and single-stage centrifugal compressor, a reverse flow combustor and a single-stage compressor turbine.

The time between overhaul of the engine is 5,000 hours. The length and diameter of the engine are 1.49m and 0.58m respectively.

Performance

The Eurocopter EC175 can fly at a maximum speed of 315km/h. Its cruise speed is 285km/h. The range and service ceiling of the helicopter are 740km and 6,000m respectively.

The helicopter weighs around 2,038kg and its maximum take-off weight is 7,000kg.