Expanding the Airbus Helicopters medium-lift utility helicopter product line is the in-development EC175 model. With market interest in modern medium-class replacements, Airbus interested enough parties to push ahead with an all-new design to help broaden its market reach. The EC175 became a product of this work that was begun in 2005. In 2008, the product was officially showcased at Heli-Expo where orders for over 100 were taken. A prototype helicopter was flown on December 17th, 2009 to prove the design sound.
The EC175 is a conventional helicopter through and through. It holds a well-sloped, windowed nose cone offering expanded forward views from the two-seat cockpit. Pilots sit in a traditional side-by-side arrangement. Passenger seating behind the flight deck is expansive as medium helicopters go with each fuselage side covered by a sliding access door - total accommodation numbering up to eighteen depending on the internal seating configuration used. The pilots enter and exit the cockpit through conventional, automobile-style hinged doors. The tail stem houses the drive shaft powering the tail rotor which is seated to portside. The main rotor sits atop the twin-engine layout which themselves are seated atop the passenger cabin. The helicopter features an all-wheel undercarriage that is wholly retractable. Horizontal tailplanes are featured along the tail section, though well-aft of the tail stem and are found at the base of the vertical tail fin.
Power to the type is through 2 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67E turboshaft engines developing 1,776 shaft horsepower each. This will provide a maximum speed of 195 miles per hour with a cruising speed of about 177 miles per hour. Range is listed to be 782 miles with a service ceiling of 19,685 feet.
While the helicopter is set to be produced in France as the EC175, AVIC of China has been granted local production of the type as the AC352. These will carry the in-house WZ-16 series turboshaft engine.
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