On 30 January 2008, the EC225 received its type certification from the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). The way is now cleared for the commercial operation in the United States of this twin-engine aircraft in the 11 metric ton class. The EC225, which performed its maiden flight in November 2000, was developed for passenger transport, particularly offshore and VIP missions, or for public service missions such as search and rescue (SAR). The latest addition to the Super Puma family, this 11 metric ton aircraft, whose maximum takeoff weight is 11.2 metric tons with an external sling load, has a new main rotor system, a reinforced main gearbox, new engines and an innovative integrated control and display system. The use of new technology means that the performances, comfort and flight safety of the EC225 have greatly stirred the enthusiasm of the crews who have flown on this helicopter.
On 27 July 2004, the EC225 received its twin-pilot IFR and single-pilot VFR airworthiness certificate from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Eighteen months later, boosted by a launch customer in the United States, Eurocopter formally instigated the certification process with the FAA.
The harmonised certification procedures between Europe and the United States allowed the FAA to use the work already performed by EASA to speed up its approval process. However, specific points were nevertheless validated by teams from the FAA itself. These teams visited Marignane three times in 2006 and 2007 to assess the helicopter on the ground and in flight. In particular, the US authorities wanted to validate such points as the helicopter’s protection against high intensity radiation fields (HIRF), its noise footprint on the ground and even its use in SAR missions. Because of the positive results obtained in all these areas, the FAA was able to certify the aircraft in categories A and B without having to make any specific modifications to the helicopter. The EC225 has a flight envelope that extends to an altitude of 20,000 ft with operating temperatures between -30°C and +50°C. A specific certification procedure to approve the aircraft for flight in icing conditions will be carried out in the weeks ahead.
The certification of the EC225 by the FAA means that now the whole Eurocopter new civil helicopter range is certified in the United States.
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