Airbus Helicopters

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Airbus Helicopters

legal form Operating Division
founding 1992 (as Eurocopter)
Seat Marignane , FranceFranceFrance 
management Bruno Even
Number of employees 20,024 (2019)
sales EUR 6.007 billion (2019)
Branch helicopter

Airbus Helicopters , Eurocopter from 1992 to 2013 , is a European manufacturer of helicopters and aircraft components, which emerged in 1992 from the helicopter divisions of DASA and the French Aérospatiale . Airbus Helicopters was a wholly owned subsidiary of the European aerospace company Airbus Group (formerly EADS) and has been a more closely linked division of it since 2017.

Airbus Helicopters is the global leader in the civil and parastatal helicopter market with a market share of 50% in 2017. In 2016, a total of around 12,000 helicopters from around 3,000 different operators were in use.


Former logo
AS350 BA Ecureuil
Eurocopter Dauphin

The Eurocopter company was created in 1992 from a merger of French, German and Spanish helicopter companies or branches. Old model names from before this time can still be found today. As part of the restructuring and renaming of the parent company EADS, the group was renamed from Eurocopter to Airbus Helicopters at the turn of the year 2013/2014. In 2017 it was integrated more closely as a division of the Airbus Group.

economic aspects


A total of 381 new military and civil helicopters were delivered in 2006, representing a total turnover of 3.8 billion euros and an increase of 18% compared to 2005. The year was characterized by high demand for new models. It increased to 615 new helicopters with a total value of 4.89 billion euros (2005: 3.52 billion euros). The order backlog at the end of December 2006 thus reached a new record of 11 billion euros. In 2012 a turnover of 6.3 billion euros was achieved with a total of 469 new orders. In 2016, 418 helicopters were delivered, 43% of them for civil purposes and 57% for military purposes.

Number of helicopters delivered
year number
2006 381
... ...
2012 475
2013 497
2014 471
2015 395
2016 418
2017 409
2018 356
2019 332

The company is in direct competition with the Italian Leonardo SpA , the US Bell Helicopter , the Russian helicopter consortium Oboronprom and other manufacturers.

Company structure

Airbus Helicopters was founded in 1992 and is a German-French-Spanish corporation and division of the Airbus Group, a global leader in aerospace and defense. In organizational terms, Airbus Helicopters is divided into a German, a French and a Spanish part. The international and French headquarters are in Marignane , the German in Donauwörth and the Spanish in Madrid .

Research and production facilities

Locations can be found in Germany in:

  • Donauwörth (management of Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH, development, prototype construction, maintenance, rotor and final production, aircraft doors, test center, customer service, training center);
  • Ottobrunn (formerly development, moved to Donauwörth since 2013) and
  • Kassel (maintenance, equipment and technical training);

in France in:

  • Marignane (management, development, prototype construction, maintenance, finishing, logistics, test center and customer service) and
  • La Courneuve (rotor construction and development, marketing);

in Spain in:

  • Madrid (Managing Director Airbus Helicopters Spain, fuselage production, maintenance and manufacture of components)
  • Albacete (body and finishing, logistics and maintenance)

planned from 2017 in Romania in:

  • Brașov (final assembly of the H215)

In the United States, Airbus Helicopters, Inc. is headquartered in Grand Prairie, Texas and has a manufacturing facility in Columbus, Mississippi .

In Brazil , Airbus Helicopters holds shares in the local helicopter manufacturer Helibras .


Fabrice Brégier has been CEO of Eurocopter since 2003 and was appointed COO of Airbus in November 2006 . His successor as CEO at Eurocopter was Lutz Bertling, who held this position until March 2013. His successor was Guillaume Faury who was replaced by Bruno Even at the beginning of April 2018.

Management of Airbus Helicopters
person Period
Jean-François Bigay 1992-1998
Patrick Gavin 1998-2000
Jean-François Bigay 2000-2003
Fabrice Brégier 2003-2006
Lutz Bertling 2006-2013
Guillaume Faury 2013-2018
Bruno Even since 2018

Aircraft components

As a supplier, Airbus Helicopters also manufactures aircraft parts, in particular the passenger doors and cargo gates for almost all Airbus aircraft types. Most of the production takes place in Donauwörth. In addition, the plastic panels for the rear landing gear area of ​​the A320 are manufactured in Donauwörth .

Helicopter types

Designation system

Until March 3, 2015, Airbus Helicopters used a uniform code made up of three digits to designate its models. These names have not changed after the renaming at the beginning of 2014. The following applies:

  1. Number: area of ​​application of the helicopter, where “1” stands for a civilian, “6” for a military variant.
  2. Number: MTOW ("Maximum Takeoff Weight") rounded up maximum take-off weight in tons. If it exceeds 10 t, the tens is added to the first digit.
  3. Digit: Number of engines, with “0” for helicopters with one and “5” for helicopters with two engines.

Example: EC135, civilian version of a 3-tonne helicopter with two engines or EC725, military version of a 12-tonne helicopter with two engines (this code does not apply or only partially applies to older models, i.e. MBB or SA).

Since March 3, 2015, this logic - evident from the change in the prefix "EC" to "H" - has not been continued for newly developed models (for the first time with the H160). Existing models that are being further developed are also given the "H", while the older types are still called "EC". Example: Only the new versions of the EC135 from P / T3 are called H135. Up to version 135 P / T2 "e" the old designation remains.

List of helicopters

EC 135
EC 145

Legend of the manufacturer's code in the list:

Helicopter models no longer manufactured by Airbus Helikopters
Current helicopter models
In the development
civil name military designation Airbus Helicopters class Type Certificate Old civil name Old military name
SA 315 Lama SA 318 Alouette II SE.3130
SA 321 Super Frelon SA-321
SA 330 Puma SA 330 J
SA 341 Gazelle , SA 342 SA 342L, SA 342M SA 341
SA 360 Dauphin SA 360
BK 117 BK 117 A-1, BK 117 A-3, BK 117 A-4, BK 117 B-1, BK 117 B-2, BK 117 C-1
Bo 105 Bo 105M, Bo 105P Bo 105
H120 Light EC120 EC120 Colibri
H125 H125M Light AS350 AS 350 B3e AS550 C3e Fennec
H130 Light EC130 B4 EC130
H130 Light EC130 T2 EC130
H135 H135M Light EC135 EC135 EC635
EC145 Light BK 117 C-2 EC145 EC645 , UH-72A
H145 H145M Light BK 117 D-2 (mil: BK 117 D-2m)

BK 117 D-3 (5-blade rotor)

EC145 T2 EC645 T2
AS 365 N3 + Dauphin AS 565 Mbe Panther medium AS365 N3 +
H155 medium AS 365 N4 EC155 Dauphin
H160 medium H160
H175 medium EC175 EC175
H215 Heavy AS 332 C, L, C1, L1 AS 332 C1e
H215 AS 532 Ale Heavy AS 332 C, L, C1, L1 AS 332 L1e
H225 H225M Heavy EC 225 LP EC225 Super Puma EC725 Caracal
Eurocopter Tiger Specialized tiger
NH90 (TTH and NFN) Specialized NH90


Low-noise rotor blades

Since 1998/99, Airbus Helicopters has been working on a way to minimize the characteristic hacking of a helicopter. The starting point here is the rotor blades , as the noise is primarily caused by them; the drive turbine appears less disruptive. The aerodynamic development of the rotors has made considerable progress over the past decades, so that the noise during cruise has been drastically reduced, but this “rattling” cannot be completely avoided with conventional rotor blades. Similar to the wing tips of an airplane, spiral-shaped eddies are created on the rotors, which cause relatively little disturbance during cruise because they are quickly transported out of the rotor plane by the incoming air. If the helicopter is in a slow descent or climb, the following rotor blade breaks through the vortices of the previous one. This sudden change in pressure has the effect of a cracking whip - the rapid succession of these "lashes" is perceived as an annoying rattle on the ground. In order to counteract this effect, a rotor blade with a double arrow - similar to the wings of an albatross  - was developed. This enabled the noise level to be reduced by 3 to 4  dB .

The noise generated by the rotor blades can also be dampened by active flaps on the rotor blades, which are controlled in time with the rotation. This enables a significant reduction in the noise level and vibrations. In the long term, it should even be possible to reduce vibration by 90%. In autumn 2005, the system was tested for the first time in flight operations on the MBB / Kawasaki BK 117 S7045 experimental helicopter at the Eurocopter location in Donauwörth, Bavaria. If the method proves to be functional and efficient in the flight test, Eurocopter plans to make the flaps ready for series production for use on the EC 145. It is also intended to be used on other Eurocopter helicopter types at a later date.

Diesel powered helicopter

At the Paris Air Show 2009, the concept of a helicopter powered by a diesel engine (with reciprocating pistons and high compression - instead of a kerosene turbine), the so-called bluecopter , was presented for the first time. The development goal is to reduce noise levels by 10 dB, carbon dioxide emissions by 30% and nitrogen oxide emissions by 60%.

Airbus Helicopters X 3

Airbus Helicopters X 3 at ILA 2012

Since January 25, 2008 Airbus Helicopters has been working on a high-speed helicopter . This fast-flying airplane-helicopter hybrid was called high-speed hybrid helicopter , abbreviated as H3, from which the name X 3 (X-Cube) emerged, where X stands for eXperimental . The X 3 aircraft consists of the fuselage and the main rotor of the EC155 (AS365 N4 Dauphin) with two turbines of the NH90 of the RTM322 type from Rolls-Royce, on which an adapted main gear of the EC175 was attached, which in turn drives the main rotor and two propellers . At higher speeds, the number of revolutions of the rotor is reduced in order to avoid supersonic speeds of the rotor blades, which impair the speed of the forward flight due to the resulting air compression. A tail rotor to compensate for the torque of the lift rotor is not required, as this is compensated by the drive propeller. With this configuration, speeds of over 220 kn (410 km / h) should be achieved. On September 6, 2010, Airbus Helicopters began test flights with a prototype of the X 3 helicopter at the Istres-Le Tubé air base ( Base Aérienne 125 ) ( aircraft registration number: F-ZXXX). In summary, the desired design goal is a 50 percent increase in speed with costs increased by only 25%. The successor to this study is the Airbus Racer .

Eurocopter X6

The X6 is to be developed as the successor to the Super Puma family.

Eurocopter X9

The Eurocopter X9 is intended as a technology demonstrator for the new lightweight twin-engine helicopters, which is to replace the two production lines of the Eurocopter EC 135 and Eurocopter EC 145 . The decision to develop the Eurocopter X9 was announced in August 2012 by the CEO of Eurocopter Lutz Bertling in the presence of Federal Minister of Economics Philipp Rösler . The development costs are estimated at one billion euros.

Drone helicopter

In April 2013, Eurocopter presented the A-flight drone helicopter , which is an OPV helicopter based on the EC 145. If necessary, this helicopter can also be manned. The system is designed for military as well as civil use.

Airbus Racer

Airbus Helicopters Racer at the Paris Airshow 2017

At the Paris Airshow 2017, Airbus showed for the first time the aerodynamic configuration in box-wing design of its high-speed demonstrator from the European research program Clean Sky 2. The demonstrator with the pseudonym "Racer" (Rapid And Cost-Effective Rotorcraft) is said to have a cruising speed of over 400 km / h to reach. Final assembly in Marignane is scheduled to begin in mid-2020, with the first flight scheduled for September 2021. The Racer project is based on the successful, self-financed X 3 demonstrator, which introduced the aerodynamic composite configuration with a classic main rotor and innovative side rotors. Originally two RTM322 engines were to serve as the drive for the side and main rotors . In March 2018, Airbus switched the concept to Aneto engines from Safran Helicopter Engine .


On March 25, 2002, Frédéric North reached an altitude of 12,954 m with a Eurocopter AS 350 , breaking the almost 30-year-old altitude record for helicopters. Previously, on June 21, 1972, Jean Boulet had reached a height of 12,442 m with an Aérospatiale SA-315 Lama .

On May 14, 2005, a Eurocopter helicopter landed for the first time on the summit of Mount Everest (8,848 m). Test pilot Didier Delsalle ascended from Tenzing Hillary Airport in Lukla (2866 m) with a standard Ecureuil / AStar AS 350 B3 and landed at the summit at 07:08 a.m. (local time). After a two-minute stay, he returned to the base. The record flight was repeated on May 15, 2005.

Web links

Commons : Airbus Helicopters  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Number of employees of the Airbus Group in 2017 and 2019 by business segment. In: Statista . Retrieved February 14, 2020 .
  2. a b Airbus Helicopters: Orders and deliveries 2019 , accessed on February 14, 2020
  3. a b Airbus Helicopters: Key Figures 2017 , accessed on May 6, 2018
  4. Group restructuring: EADS will in future be Airbus. In: July 31, 2013, accessed July 31, 2013 .
  5. Eurocopter 2012 with record sales. In: Handelsblatt . January 24, 2013, accessed June 22, 2013 .
  6. Helicopter manufacturer is struggling with weak demand. In: Handelsblatt from January 21, 2017, accessed on January 29, 2017
  7. Key Figures: As of 2017 , accessed on March 2, 2017
  8. Airbus Helicopters: Key figures 2018 , accessed on March 24, 2019
  9. ^ Main Plants. Archived from the original on October 27, 2014 ; accessed on June 16, 2015 .
  10. Airbus Helicopters to revive Romanian aircraft manufacturing, Flightglobal, November 17, 2015
  11. USA Locations. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on March 7, 2012 ; accessed on August 31, 2019 .
  12. Bruno Even: Appointed CEO of Airbus Helicopters , accessed April 30, 2018
  13. ^ Airbus Helicopters: Doors and Fairings for Aircraft Programs. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on October 27, 2014 ; accessed on October 27, 2014 .
  14. Eurocopter becomes "Airbus Helicopters" ( Memento from January 7, 2014 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on January 7, 2014
  15. Eurocopter magazine “Rotor” April / May 2010 issue, pp. 16–17 ( online ).
  16. Eurocopter's Blue Edge Rotor Blade Makes Helicopters Silent from February 26, 2010.
  17. ^ Website of the manufacturer on Bluecopter technology ( Memento from July 7, 2015 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on August 31, 2019
  18. HELI-EXPO 2009: Rolls-Royce confirms role in Airbus helicopters X3 program , from February 23, 2009
  19. a b Airbus Helicopters press release: Flight testing of Airbus Helicopters' X 3 ( Memento from February 1, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  20. FlightGlobal: Eurocopter promises four new rotorcraft by 2020. Accessed January 28, 2013 .
  21. ^ Donauwörth as composites pioneer. CompositeWorld (2nd picture), February 9, 2015, accessed on February 10, 2015 (English).
  22. Markus Fasse: Eurocopter is planning a new helicopter. Handelsblatt, August 3, 2012, accessed on February 10, 2015 .
  23. Primary source: Spiegel Online
  24. Airbus' RACER Progress Update . In: AIR International . tape 98 , no. 6 , June 2020, p. 16 (English).
  25. Airbus Helicopters unveils high-speed demonstrator "Racer": Airbus Helicopters unveils high-speed demonstrator "Racer" , accessed on August 6, 2017
  26. Volker K. Thomalla : Safran Aneto drives the RACER., March 1, 2018, accessed on March 1, 2018 .