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Airbus Helicopters AS350 B
Eurocopter EC120 B Colibri
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G-TGGR Airbus Helicopters EC120 B Colibri c/n 1244 - Groningen Airport Eelde in Holland - 17 July 2007 Eurocopter EC120 B 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 P120L. 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. 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 for both the EC120 and HC120 is EC20. 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.

The 2001-built Eurocopter EC120 B Colibri c/n 1224 was registered first in Sweden as SE-JMF on 13 June 2001. The SE-JMF was operated by Berguven Aero, Börlange. The company went bankrupt early-2004 and the EC120 B was sold. On 22 July 2004, the helicopter was registered as G-TGGR with Blue Five Aviation Ltd. in the UK. In July 2006, the G-TGGR arrived out of the UK at Grand Case Airport, Sint Martin, to be operated in the Netherlands Antilles on behalf of Heli St. Martin. This operator, owned by Matt Sadler, started its operations in August 2006, and on 18 August, the G-TGGR was registered with E.P. & R.S. Sadler, Sint Maartin, Netherlands Antilles. In spring of 2007, the G-TGGR returned to the UK. On 12 September 2007, the G-TGGR was registered with D.M.McGarrity, Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland. The emergency float system equipped Colibri visited Groningen Airport Eelde in the Netherlands on 17 July 2007.

page last updated: 17-01-2015
Photo Copyright © Jack Poelstra, the Netherlands

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