Italian electrical transmission grid operator Terna has taken delivery of two Airbus Helicopters AS350 B3e rotorcraft to perform surveillance and maintenance support for power lines that deliver electricity throughout the country.
These two Ecureuil family helicopters were delivered by Airbus Helicopter’s long term Italian distributor, Aersud Elicotteri, who won Terna’s tender and will retrofit some of the equipment required by the customer.
The new aircraft provide Terna with its own resources to conduct airborne operations, enabling the company to provide such services rather than relying on subcontractors.
Terna is the leading independent European company in kilometers of electrical lines managed, and ranks sixth worldwide. Through its Terna Rete Italia subsidiary, it manages a national transmission grid encompassing more than 63,500 km. of high voltage lines, with the responsibility for dispatching power and safely managing the balance between electrical demand and supply.
The deployment of helicopters for surveillance and maintenance of electrical transmission grids provides multiple advantages, including the ability to visually inspect approximately 300 km. of power lines daily, a quick-reaction capability in detecting and evaluating failure or problems, and the ability to reach difficult or inaccessible areas – all while minimizing the environmental impact.
As the high-performance member of Airbus Helicopters’ Ecureuil family, the AS350 B3 outclasses all other single engine helicopters for performance, versatility, safety and competitive acquisition and maintenance costs. It can be configured – and easily reconfigured – with a long list of certified equipment for utility missions, and has the lifting power capacity, endurance and maneuverability for the most demanding missions, including hot-and-high operations.
The enhanced AS350 B3e version includes the more powerful Turbomeca Arriel 2D engine with a longer lifecycle and lower maintenance costs, a new FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control), avionics that feature Airbus Helicopters’ VEMD (Vehicle Engine Multifunction Display) and engine data recorder, along with an improved interior design and tail rotor modifications for additional ease of piloting.
About Airbus Helicopters
Airbus Helicopters, formerly Eurocopter, is a division of Airbus Group, a global pioneer in aerospace and defense related services. Airbus Helicopters is the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer and employs more than 23,000 people worldwide. With 46 percent market share in civil and parapublic sectors, the company’s fleet in service includes some 12,000 helicopters operated by more than 3,000 customers in approximately 150 countries. Airbus Helicopters’ international presence is marked by its customer centers and participations in 21 countries, and its worldwide network of service centers, training facilities, distributors and certified agents. Airbus Helicopters’ range of civil and military helicopters is the world’s largest; its aircraft account for one third of the worldwide civil and parapublic fleet. The company’s chief priority is to ensure the safe operation of its aircraft for the thousands of people who fly more than 3 million hours per year.
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