From the EC120 to the EC225, Eurocopter offers the widest choice
of top-of-the-range aircraft on the market. All the bases are
therefore covered – and, at first base, single-engine helicopters
cater for the majority of demand from private owners.
The EC120, EC130 and Ecureuil range are very
popular with corporate and private customers. From
the passenger’s point of view, the EC130 meets
with everyone’s approval for its comfort, cabin visibility
and ultramodern profile.
The competition is stiffer for twin-engine aircraft, but
Eurocopter has made excellent progress on this front,
with sales rising from 13 aircraft in 2005 (all models
included); to 32 in 2006; and 44 in the first nine
months of 2007.
Two helicopters stand out in particular: the Dauphin
and the EC135. The EC135 has a solid reputation
for best value for money and is, above all, a compact
aircraft, which makes it ideal for operations in built-up
areas or for use on yachts. This is a feature that
it shares with the EC145, which is just beginning its
VIP career. Furthermore, the EC145 has a very roomy
cabin and outstanding reliability.
In the medium/twin segment, the Dauphin family
(AS365 N3 and EC155 B1) is looked upon as the main
challenger to the firmly entrenched competition.
However, with approximately 20 aircraft sold between
January and September 2007, the Dauphin has made
a major breakthrough, especially in the countries of
Eastern Europe. The spacious cabin, unrivalled flight
comfort and remarkable autopilot raise the EC155 B1
to the standards of an airliner or a business jet.
A sporty or exclusive interior
Comfort is one of the main criteria on the corporate
and private market. The buyers are very often also the
main users, who place space, interior furnishings, noise and vibration levels and the overall aesthetic
appearance of the aircraft at the top of their list of
Eurocopter therefore offers several cabin designs to
meet the widest possible range of customer requirements.
In 2003, the Stylence concept (a contraction
of “style” and “excellence”) was first implemented in
“Stylence offers a sporty and elegant atmosphere,”
explains Christine Fraud, the marketing manager
for corporate and private applications. “In addition to
the combination of punched and smooth leather on
the coverings, special attention has been paid to the
finishing touches. For example, we decided to leave
the metal structures of the energy-absorbing seats
exposed, and to add carbon inserts in the seat backs,
to enhance that sporty look.”
The Stylence formula is now offered on the EC120,
EC130, the Ecureuil range and the EC145. Another
possibility is to give the helicopter an exclusive finish,
creating a more luxurious atmosphere similar to that
of a business jet. Leather is used throughout the
cabin, which takes on the appearance of a stylish
lounge. And the number of seats is reduced from
six to four on an EC135, for example, and from 12 to
eight on an EC155. On certain aircraft, a partially
glazed partition can be used to separate the cockpit
from the passenger cabin and the soundproofing is
also enhanced through the use of special windows
and padding behind the coverings. Stowage or comfort
features – such as an insulated cabinet for food and
drinks, video screens and laptop connections – can
also be provided in the cabin.
More and more corporate and private helicopter
users want to be able to work or relax in their aircraft
just like they would in a sophisticated lounge. The
helicopter is no longer just a means of transport;
it has become a living space. This is a brain-teaser
for the design offices, however, which have to incorporate
a wide range of modern equipment, without
changing the helicopter’s weight or the appearance
of the cabin.