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  • HELI-EXPO: PICTURE - Eurocopter unveils T2 upgrade for EC130

HELI-EXPO: PICTURE - Eurocopter unveils T2 upgrade for EC130

Eurocopter has unveiled the most significant development of the light-single EC130 in a decade, offering the latest variant of the Turbomeca Arriel 2 engine to increase power and reduce fuel consumption.

The unveiling of the EC130 T2 at the Heli-Expo in Dallas, Texas, comes one year after the French-German airframer introduced a similar engine upgrade for the EC145 light-twin, and follows a strategy of incrementally improving existing products wile also investing in future designs.

Eurocopter intends to deliver the Arriel 2D-powered EC130 T2 in 2013.

Eurocopter 130 T2 unveil, John/Croft/Flightglobal

 © John Croft/Flightglobal

The engine upgrade means the T2 model should consume 14% less fuel, fly 10kt (19km/h) faster and carry 38kg (84lb) more internal payload.

Other improvements include an active vibration control system and better air conditioning.

The new engine also comes with an increased time between overhauls - from 3,500h to 4,000h at entry into service, Turbomeca said.

Eurocopter introduced the finestron-equipped EC130 with the Arriel 2B engine in 2001, as a widebody version of the AS350 B3 Ecureuil - or Squirrel - helicopter.

The EC130 has ranked among the company's top-sellers for several years, with bookings increasing dramatically last year. The EC130 attracted 238 orders last year, a nearly 40% jump compared to 2010, Eurocopter said.

Meanwhile, the EC145 T2 with the Arriel 2E engine is scheduled to enter service at the end of 2012.