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 2016, more than 700 EC120 B helicopters have been delivered to 55 countries. Since March 2015, Airbus Helicopters
uses “H120” as marketing designation for 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.
As the Bell 206L, Hughes 500, Schweizer 330, and Eurocopter EC130, the EC120 got certificated in the Netherlands with Heli-Holland.
The 1999-built Eurocopter EC120 B c/n 1069 was used for the certification with the Rijks Luchtvaart Dienst. Eurcopter used test
registration F-WQDY for this helicopter. The Colbri was registered PH-RBC in the Netherlands
with Heli Holland Holding BV, Emmer-Compascuum, on 21 December 1999. This EC120 B was the first of a number of
Colibri helicopters imported by Heli-Holland and delivered to their customers. The helicopter was
registered with its new owner Van der Most Beheer BV on 23 February 2002. Early 2010, registration D-HJVM was reserved for this aircraft in Germany,
but this reservation was not taken up. Eurocopter EC120 B PH-RBC underwent a major overhaul with Heli Holland Technics and was repainted in an
attractive new color scheme. On 2 April 2014, the helicopter was seen in its new colours at the Heli Holland heliport.
These colors are a real difference with the
old colors of the PH-RBC. On 29 February 2016,
Eurocopter EC120 B PH-RBC was registered with HeliAir Helicopter Services, Harskamp.