Position and power are key points for EC175 test pilot

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Power and positioning are two key attributes of the Eurocopter EC175, says its chief test pilot Alain di Bianca.

"It's very easy to fly," he says, "it almost flies itself." The high position of the pilot and the clear view from the cockpit add to the ease of piloting the type, he adds.

However, di Bianca says it is in the responsiveness of its powerplants where the EC175 really comes into its own. "When you pull on the collective, the power is there and you climb [straight away]. That's much better than other helicopters, where you have to manage the power a lot more."

Di Bianca, a former test pilot on the EC155 Dauphin, adds: "It's the first time I have [flown] a helicopter with such power. It's really amazing, even at maximum weight the power is always there."

Since the first prototype flew in 2009, improvements have been made to its engine response and stability, he says, "to ensure you can fly without any limitations in the whole of the flight envelope".