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
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. In 2006, Regourd Aviation in France obtained EASA
certification for the modified EC120 "Voyager", an EC120 with auto-pilot;
glass cockpit & integrated avionics. The ICAO Aircraft Type Designator is EC20 for both the EC120 and HC120.
Until 2015, more than 700 EC120 B helicopters have been delivered to 55 countries.
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.
In April 2000, Eurocopter EC120 B c/n 1107 was testflown with Eurocopter
France testregistration F-WQDR. On 16 May 2000, the helicopter was
registered HB-ZCK in Switzerland with Léman Hélicoptères SA. On 29
October 2001, registration HB-ZCK was cancelled and the next day the Colibri was registered F-GSLH
with Léman Hélicoptères SA. On 4 March 2004, registration F-GSLH was cancelled as exported to Germany.
On 11 March 2004, the Eurocopter EC120 B was registered D-HKLE with Fleuren Elektro Technik GmbH.
On 26 August 2011, Eurocopter EC120 B Colibri D-HKLE was amoung the helicopters of a private fly-in
at the Hotel Weißer Bär in Mühlheim an der Mosel, Germany. The fly-in turned into a disaster as the tail end of
storm "Bert" brought tennis-ball size hailstones, causing extensive damage to all 18 helicopters parked in the grounds of Hotel Weisser Bär.
The 2000-built Colibri D-HIKE was substantial damaged and stored first. In August 2012, the helicopter was ferried for rebuilt to Heli Holland Technics
in Emmen, the Netherlands. Eurocopter EC120 B D-HKLE returned like new to Germany after the makeover at the Heli Holland heliport.