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News > American Eurocopter's flight line welcomes four decades of helicopter excellence

American Eurocopter's flight line welcomes four decades of helicopter excellence

July 10, 2009

American Eurocopter’s 40th anniversary celebration today brought together rotary-wing aircraft that represented the company’s helicopter presence in the U.S. marketplace since the 1960s.

This photo report highlights several of the helicopters displayed on American Eurocopter headquarters facility’s Grand Prairie, Texas flight line.  (Click on the images for a larger version):

40th anniversary of Helicopter excellence
American Eurocopter’s roots in the U.S. market include the pioneering Alouette and Gazelle helicopters, which have been operated on a full range of utility and transport missions.  In the foreground is an Alouette III currently utilized by Trans Aero Helicopter Services of Cheyenne, Wyoming, whose activities include government contract services, wildfire fighting, and oil and gas exploration.  In the background is a Gazelle – representing the aircraft type that was certified by the U.S. airworthiness authorities in 1975 for single-pilot instrument flight rules (IFR) operations – a world’s first for helicopters.

Colorful EC130B
This colorful EC130B is used for sightseeing flights by Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters.  With its low noise level, excellent performance, comfortable cabin and excellent visibility, the EC130B has become a rotary-wing aircraft of choice for the helicopter tourism sector.  The EC130’s worldwide launch customer was a U.S. company – Blue Hawaiian Helicopters.

Airbus Helicopters provider for Homeland Security application
American Eurocopter’s growing role as a helicopter provider for U.S. homeland security applications was underscored by the presence of two rotary-wing aircraft types from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection inventory. Shown here is one of the agency’s AS350s, while an EC120 also was displayed at Grand Prairie. Mission equipment carried on these rotary-wing aircraft includes a nose-mounted sensor turret, high intensity spotlight and loudspeakers.

Airbus Helicopters 40th anniversary aircraft
The Texas Department of Public Safety is one of the large number of U.S. law enforcement agencies operating American Eurocopter helicopters.   Displayed at the 40th anniversary event was an aircraft from its fleet of AS350s, which are used day and night from major cities to the state’s border regions for monitoring criminal activity, performing aerial surveillance, locating lost children and additional missions.  The Texas Department of Public Safety also flies one EC145, which is used for hoist operations, SWAT team insertion and other roles.

Colorful EC130B AS350
An EC145 from Memorial Hermann Life Flight underscored American Eurocopter’s role as the leading supplier of rotary-wing aircraft to U.S. air medical service sector.  Memorial Hermann Life Flight was the first air ambulance program in Texas, and the second in the U.S.  Since its founding in 1976, the operator has flown more than 110,000 missions, using American Eurocopter-family helicopters that began with the SA319B Alouette, followed by the AS335 TwinStar, the BK117, BO105, and now the EC145.

For additional coverage of American Eurocopter’s 40th anniversary event:

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