Eurocopter - now Airbus Helicopters (France) - developed its EC225 "Super Puma" for the passenger transport role particularly to service the oil and gas industry where long range hauling of company personnel was key. First flight was recorded on November 27th, 2000 with introduction in December of 2004. The EC225 is a derivative of the Eurocopter AS332 "Super Puma" product of 1978 while the EC725 "Super Cougar" is a related development of the EC225 line and serves in the tactical transport role.
At its core, the Super Puma retains the basic form and function of its predecessors. It features a twin engine design, the powerplants installed over the cabin roof, which drive a five-bladed main rotor and a four-bladed tail rotor (set to starboard). The cockpit area is well glazed for optimal viewing and rounded rectangular windows are set along the fuselage sides. Pilots are afforded hinged automobile-style access doors while the passenger cabin is served by sliding doors. The tail unit is raised for good ground clearance. The wheeled undercarriage is retractable. Internally, the cabin seats up to 24 passengers in addition to the standard operating crew of two with the optional cabin attendant added. The passenger seating arrangement is customizable to the needs of the purchasing customer.
While primarily geared in sales towards the oil and gas industry, the helicopter is also billed for service in the VIP passenger transport sector as well as police and humanitarian work. Developmental setbacks have delayed large-scale entry of the Super Puma with several rather high profile ditches (some with fatalities) in the span of a few short years.
Variants in the Super Puma line now include the EC225 LP (an improved form based on the AS332 L2), the EC225 FF/SAR (Firefighting/Search And Rescue platform), and the EC225e (a modernized model with Turbomeca "Makila" 2B series turboshaft engines). The EC225 "Super Puma Mk II+" is marketed as the next generation product of the Super Puma family.
EC225 Super Puma operators include Algeria, Argentina, Canada, China, France, Greenland, Japan, Malaysia, Oman, Taiwan, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam.