A million flight hours

In December 2007, the EC135/EC635 fleet, which currently has 615 aircraft in service, reached the milestone of one million flight hours.

 Eurocopter/J. Deulin
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On 5 December 2005, the EC175 programme came into being following the signing of an historic cooperation agreement by Eurocopter and HAIG, the subsidiary of the Chinese group, AVIC II. This agreement, based on 50/50 cost sharing, covers the development, industrialisation and production of a completely new helicopter in the 6-7 metric ton class. Throughout 2006, the partners worked together in a joint design office based in Marignane and, since then, they have continued the work within their own organisations.
“The lengthy experience that we have of working with the Chinese allows us to collaborate a long way apart from each other without any major problems,” explains Francis Combes, the EC175 programme director at Eurocopter. In fact, Eurocopter has already been cooperating with Chinese industrial companies for more than 25 years.
It all began in July 1980 with the signing of a contract for the manufacture of Dauphin helicopters under licence. This shared adventure continued in 1992 with the development, industrialisation and serial production of the EC120 B.
To date, more than 500 Colibris have been delivered throughout the world. All the structures for these aircraft (equipped with the fuel system, canopy, righthand small door and engine cowlings) were manufactured by HAIG at its plant in Harbin, which is 1,500 km north of Beijing. “Only one Eurocopter representative is required to ensure quality control,” continues Francis Combes. “This shows how well we work together.”





_AUTHOR: REGINA LANGE