Eurocopter has netted launch orders for six N4 widebody versions of its Dauphin helicopter from Norway's Helicopter Service group, along with orders for a total of 15 AS350-B3 single-engined Ecureuils and six EC135s. The group has also received European Joint Aviation Authorities certification for the EC120 Colibri.

Eurocopter president Jean-Francois Bigay says that the priority for the Franco-German group is to "-return to yearly profit" following a "drastic" reduction of loan requirements with the end of the current heavy development period on types such as the new EC120 and EC135. Both of these were developed with internal funding.

Eurocopter has received more than 50 orders in 13 countries for the EC120 since its February commercialisation, while the EC135 has accounted for over 60 sales.

In addition, the production-investment contract for the Tiger anti-tank helicopter was due to be signed at the show, on 20 June, leading to launch orders for 80 machines each for France and Germany in early 1998.

The new Dauphin N4, introduced at Paris, has an enlarged cabin, a new five-bladed main rotor and quieter tail rotor, and more-powerful Turboméca Arriel 2C turboshafts. Delivery of the first machine is set for the end of 1998 following the first flight at the end of June.

Source: Flight International