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Heli-Expo 2015 (video): Metro Aviation displays lighter EC145

9th March 2015 - 14:17 GMT | by Grant Turnbull in Orlando

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Metro Aviation has introduced a modified version of the Airbus Helicopters EC145e helicopter at this year’s Heli Expo.

Designated the ‘e-lite’, the aircraft features simplified avionics systems with many of the EC145’s heavier components removed to reduce weight and increase effective payload.

The aircraft is being targeted at the air medical, law enforcement, utility and offshore oil & gas markets.

‘What is so unique about this aircraft is as the industry has gone more technical and more sophisticated… this aircraft drops us back into a very simple, very good product for a utility VFR market,’ said Milton Geltz, managing director of Metro Aviation.

The EC145e is around 157kg lighter than the legacy C2 variant, according to Geltz, primarily because it does not feature IFR avionics.

‘When we did an analysis of a completed aircraft, we actually found that we could shave another 35kg off the completed aircraft,’ Geltz added.

That weight saving translates into a 200kg improvement in useful load for the ‘e-lite’ variant.

Metro Aviation said there has been two confirmed sales at this year’s Heli Expo with additional interest from South America and the US law enforcement sector.

‘We’ve just scratched the surface on this particular model,’ said Geltz.

The EC145e includes a single pilot VFR glass cockpit featuring the Garmin G500H and GTN 650 GPS. As part of the ‘e-lite’ completion, Metro Aviation also installs the Genesis Aerosystems HeliSAS autopilot.

Also on display at Heli Expo was North America’s first EC145 T2, featuring an EMS interior recently completed by Metro Aviation. Dare MedFlight, a county-owned aeromedical operation based in Dare County, North Carolina, is the launch customer. 

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