Eurocopter is close to completing flight and ground tests on its in-development EC175 super-medium twin ahead of certification next year.
The Marignane-based airframer is confident it will reach the end-of-test milestone by the end of September, says Dominique Maudet, Eurocopter executive vice-president global business and services.
"Most of the trials have been done and there are very few tests remaining," says Maudet. "Then it is more a matter of finalising the certification process and completing the paperwork."
Entry into service of the 7.5t type has been delayed twice over the last 12 months, with the most recent slippage - pushing certification and first delivery from this year into 2014 - announced at the Paris air show in June.
Nonetheless, Maudet believes the programme is regaining some of its lost momentum. "We are pleased with the progress. We are now pushing to get the first helicopter to the customer.
"We want to see it come to market and show the oil and gas community that we have set the standard for this super-medium-class helicopter."
Most of the orders for the EC175 have been for offshore transportation-configured helicopters, but Maudet reports growing interest in the VIP-roled model, too, with the company having recently secured a second order for the variant from an undisclosed customer.
The delays to the EC175 have largely been attributed to problems with the approvals process for Eurocopter's Helionix avionics system, which has proven more complex than initially envisaged.
Also affected by a similar issue is the manufacturer's upgrade of its popular EC145 medium twin, the T2.
The first example of the enhanced variant, which gains new Turbomeca Arriel 2E engines and an upgraded avionics suite, was due to have been handed over earlier this year. However, certification has now been pushed to early 2014, with first delivery anticipated in the second quarter, says Maudet.
Source: Flight International