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Eurocopter EC120 B Colibri
N263CP N555GJ
SpanAF HE.25-8 SpanAF HE.25-3
HE.25-9 Eurocopter EC120 B Colibri c/n 1198 - Spanish Air Force 782 Esc / Ala 78 "78-28" Patrulla Aspa - Gilze-Rijen Air Base in Holland - 21 June 2014 EC120 B Colibri productionlist

The Airbus Helicopters EC120 B Colibri is a 5-seat light utility helicopter powered by a single Turbomeca Arrius 2F turbine engine. The EC 120 B Colibri, also known as Hummingbird, was developed with simplicity of design and low costs of maintenance in mind. It makes extensive use of composite materials and modern avionics. The new generation of fenestron tail rotor takes part in the decrease in external noise level, which makes the EC120 B ideal for missions near settled areas. The project started in 1990 when Aerospatiale of France, CATIC of China and Singapore Aerospace agreed in forming a partnership to develop a new light helicopter, then designated P-120L. Definition phase of the original P120L was subsequently redesigned with 500 kg lower gross weight and new engine and rotor. The helicopter divisions of Aerospatiale from France and MBB from Germany merged in January 1992 to form the Eurocopter Group. In October 1992, development of the new helicopter started and in January 1993, Eurocopter designation EC 120 was given to the helicopter. Mid-1993, the design definition was completed and assembly of first of two prototypes began at Eurocopter France at Marignane in early 1995. Eurocopter EC120 prototype F-WWPA c/n 1 flew first on 9 June 1995. The second prototype (F-WWPD c/n 2) was flown 17 July 1996. Certification to JAR 27 was achieved on 16 June 1997. Production of the EC 120 began on a small scale in 1997 at Eurocopter France's Marignane facility, with the first production Colibri (F-WWPL c/n 1005) flying on 5 December 1997. The airframes are made in China and the final assembly line of the EC120 is at the Eurocopter Marignane factory in France. Next to the final assembly of the EC120 in France, a number of helicopters were assembled in Australia and Brazil. On 11 June 2004, CATIC, HAI and Eurocopter signed a contract to set up an second assembly line to manufacture the EC120 helicopter in Harbin, China. The EC120 built by HAI - Harbin Aviation Industries Co., Ltd. (Hafei Aviation), part of AviChina Industry & Technology Company Ltd., is known as HC120. The HC120 is destined for the Chinese domestic market as well as the army's pilot training. The ICAO Aircraft Type Designator is EC20 for both the EC120 and HC120. In 2006, Regourd Aviation in France obtained EASA certification for the modified EC120 "Voyager", an EC120 with auto-pilot, glass cockpit & integrated avionics. Until 2014, Eurocopter has built more than 700 EC120 B helicopters.

As a result of the merger between the Eurocopter parents Aérospatiale-Matra; DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (DASA) and Construcciones Aeronàuticas Sociedad Anonima (CASA) in July 2000, the Eurocopter group became a division of the new formed EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space company). Taking off into 2014, EADS was rebranded as "Airbus Group". Uniting all its activities under a single brand, its helicopter division Eurocopter was rebranded as Airbus Helicopters on 8 January 2014.

The Spanish Air Force - Ejército del Aire Español (EdA) operates fifteen Eurocopter EC120 B helicopters. The first aircraft were delivered on 26 July 2000, the last ones on 27 July 2001. All fifteen helicopters are operated by Ejército del Aire Español (EdA) 782 Esc / Ala 78. In 2001, Eurocopter France was permitted to fly Eurocopter EC120 B Colibri c/n 1198 with test registration F-WQDG On 30 March 2001, the helicopter was delivered to the Spanish Air Force and entered service with Ejército del Aire Español (EdA) 782 Esc / Ala 78 as HE.25-9 "78-28". In service with the Spanish Air Force Eurocopter EC120 B HE.25-9 "7828" was one of the helicopters used by the display team Patrulla Aspa that perfomed a great show during the Luchtmachtdagen (Air Force Days) at Gilze-Rijen Air Base in the Netherlands on 21 June 2014.

page last updated: 25-06-2014
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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