Eurocopter has pushed back certification of its in-development EC175 medium twin by six months to summer 2013, following undisclosed issues with the type's in-house Helionix avionics suite.

However, the airframer says the delay will not affect first delivery of the aircraft, which is scheduled for September 2013 to an as-yet undisclosed customer. Eurocopter had previously indicated deliveries would commence in the first quarter of 2013.

The programme hiccup was announced shortly after the airframer performed the first flight of a serially produced EC175 from its Marignane production facility in the south of France during the week of 3 December.

The airframer has also revealed increased performance for the type, raising its recommended cruise speed to 150kt (278km/h), an increase of 10kt over the previously stated figure "without affecting payload range". Maximum cruise speed exceeds 165kt, it says.

To make its debut in the oil and gas sector, the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67E-powered type has so far accumulated 500h of flight testing using two prototype aircraft.

Source: Flight International