PICTURES: Eurocopter completes four first flights in one day

Washington DC
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Eurocopter successfully completed four first flights on 17 December, including the debut sortie of the second prototype EC175 heavy twin civil helicopter being built in a joint venture with the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).

The other three first flights involved military helicopters - a fire support and destruction (HAD) Tiger for France; an NH Industries NH90 tactical transport helicopter (TTH) also for France's armed forces and an NH90 TTH for the Spanish armed forces.

The second EC175, a 7t multi-role helicopter configured for the oil and gas industry, flew for 45min on its maiden sortie, validating basic handling qualities and system functionality, says Eurocopter. The companies plan to certify the Pratt & Whitney PT6C-67E-powered 16-passenger twin in late 2012.

 
© Eurocopter
Second Eurocopter EC175 takes flight

The Tiger HAD support and attack helicopter for France will next pair with a Spanish Tiger HAD for joint testing and development flights. Eurocopter says it has orders for 64 of the 6.6t HADs - 40 by France and 24 by Spain, six of which are retrofits of previously delivered versions of the Tiger.

 
© Eurocopter
French armed forces Tiger HAD first flight

Both NH90 TTH first flights lasted for 1h, with dynamic systems checks, handling qualities evaluations and initial avionics checks of the 11t twin.

 
Both images © Eurocopter
The first NH90 TTH for France (above) and Spain (below) have now flown