22-Feb-2010 Source: Eurocopter
Eurocopter displays its new fire-fighting system developed for the EC225 at this yearâ€™s Heli-Expo.Â The system, which has been extensively tested during forest fires on the island of Corsica (France), is one of the most effective and powerful helicopter-borne fire-fighting systems available in the market. The first operator to utilize this system is South Koreaâ€™s National 119 Rescue Service with its EC225.
The EC225â€™s fire-fighting system consists of a flexible 4000-litre (1056 US liquid gallons) tank attached to the floor of the cabin, a scoop and water jettison kit and a system of hatches underneath the fuselage to empty the tank. The tank can be pumped full with the helicopter in hover flight.
The entire system is located inside the cabin and can be assembled and dismantled in less than twenty minutes, thus assuring the helicopterâ€™s multi-role capability as a fire-fighter, a transport aircraft as well as a medical evacuation aircraft.
The trials in Corsica explored the helicopterâ€™s entire flight envelope when equipped with the fire-fighting system. The helicopterâ€™s flight behaviour in fire-fighting configuration was tested under real-life conditions in cooperation with the SecuritÃ© Civile, the French Emergency Preparedness Organisation.
The EC225 consistently demonstrated flight characteristics that qualify the helicopter as a unique and useful fire-fighting platform. By dropping water from a lower altitude and at a lower speed than a fixed-wing aircraft, it can target a fire with greater precision, especially in mountainous terrain. Furthermore, its ability to pump water onboard in hover mode enables the helicopter to make use of water supply points in close proximity of the disaster area. Even though the pumping of water from the sea, lake or watercourse remains an extremely delicate operation, it is nevertheless facilitated by the helicopterâ€™s enormous power capacity.
The EC225 is the latest member of the proven Super Puma/Cougar family of helicopters.Â With a take-off weight of 24,251 lbs (11,000 kg), the EC725/225 carries an impressive fuel load of 5,000 lbs, guaranteeing a flight time of 5 hours. In addition to new Makila 2A1 engines with a stronger main gearbox and a new five-bladed main rotor, the EC725/225 features a state of the art glass cockpit featuring six large and redundant multifunction displays.
Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defence and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approx. 15,600 people. In 2009, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the worldâ€™s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market, with a turnover of 4.6 billion Euros, orders for 344 new helicopters, and a 52 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. Overall, the Groupâ€™s products account for 30 percent of the total world helicopter fleet. Its strong worldwide presence is ensured by its 18 subsidiaries on five continents, along with a dense network of distributors, certified agents and maintenance centres. More than 10,500 Eurocopter helicopters are currently in service with over 2,800 customers in more than 140 countries. Eurocopter offers the largest civil and military helicopter range in the world.