Helidax marks 20,000 flying hours with Eurocopter EC120 Colibri
Hélidax, owned by DCI and INAER, has announced that it has passed the 20,000 flight
hour mark with its fleet of Eurocopter EC120 Colibri aircraft—in under 13 months of
operations. Hélidax was the first public-private partnership (PPP) to be launched by
the French Ministry of Defense.
Since May 2010, Hélidax has trained two graduated students, including pilots from Belgium,
meaning some 40 trainees have graduated. A third intake of pilots has just started its ab initio
training in the EC120/NHE (New Training Helicopter).
Of Hélidax’s 36 aircraft, 32 are made available each morning for students of the French Army
Air Corps’ training school (EAALAT) in Dax. The utilization rate of Hélidax’s aircraft
approaches 100 percent.
“We are pleased to confirm that the availability of Hélidax’s EC120s/NHEs is excellent,”
states Jean-Louis Rotrubin, Chairman of DCI and Hélidax. “The 20,000 hours of flying time
we have gained in just over a year have made it possible to train two students’ intakes in
these next-generation aircraft. However, we do not expect to leave it at that, because
Hélidax’s potential goes beyond the needs of the military.”
“In addition to the contract signed in January 2008 covering Hélidax’s purchase of 36
EC120s, the last of which was delivered in October 2010, Eurocopter and Hélidax have built
up a true partnership. This rests in particular on the operational support provided by
Eurocopter that guarantees the helicopters’ operability and availability,” adds Dominique
Maudet, Eurocopter executive vice president Global Business & Services. “Another important
factor in the partnership is the invaluable feedback Hélidax is able to give concerning its
experience of maintaining the EC120s and their behavior in operation.”
For an aircraft in the light helicopter category, the EC120 can cover quite a wide range of
missions: flight training, navigation, night flights with night vision goggles, autorotation,
instrument flying and initiation to mountain flights. Its compact size, low operating costs,
excellent flight quality and ease of flying have made it a particularly popular choice for
training missions. Eurocopter has delivered to date almost 700 EC120s to many of the
world’s air forces.
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