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News > U.S. Coast Guard reaches the one million flight hour milestone with its Eurocopter HH-65 Dolphin helicopter fleet

U.S. Coast Guard reaches the one million flight hour milestone with its Eurocopter HH-65 Dolphin helicopter fleet

October 4, 2007

The U.S. Coast Guard’s fleet of Eurocopter HH-65 Dolphin helicopters has passed its one million flight hour milestone, marking another key operational achievement for the twin-engine rotary-wing aircraft that perform patrol, law enforcement and rescue missions throughout the United States.

From the helicopter’s first delivery in 1985, HH-65s have become a key element of Coast Guard aviation, with 96 Dolphins currently in the service’s inventory.

Today, HH-65s operate from 17 Coast Guard Air Stations throughout the continental United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. It was a Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii HH-65C helicopter that reached the one million flight hour milestone on September 20, 2007 while on a maritime medical evacuation (Medivac) mission with the patient on board. The HH-65 fleet has been assigned new mission responsibilities that include the use of armed versions for the protection of the U.S. Capital region and the interception/interdiction of vessels at sea. Search and rescue remains one of the key duties for HH-65s, with the Dolphins used extensively in lifesaving operations after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, and routinely deployed on missions from sea level to high-altitude mountainous terrain.

“The one-million hour milestone is an impressive accomplishment, which takes on added significance considering the environment in which the Coast Guard’s fleet operates and the varied types of mission performed by these aircraft,” said American Eurocopter President Marc Paganini. “All of us at Eurocopter are proud to be part of this achievement, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with the Coast Guard in supporting, and further improving, the HH-65.”

All Coast Guard Dolphins have completed a conversion to the HH-65C version, which incorporated engine and system upgrades to provide even more power, greater maneuverability and increased safety margins. The upgrade was performed at the U.S. Coast Guard’s Aircraft Repair and Supply Center (AR&SC), with American Eurocopter operating a supplemental conversion line at its Columbus, Mississippi facility. Accomplished as part of the Deepwater Program, the conversion was completed ahead of the Congressionally-mandated timeline.

The HH-65 is a version of the Eurocopter Dauphin helicopter, of which 983 have been delivered worldwide – with 860 of these aircraft still operational. As the largest single operator of this rotary-wing aircraft type, the U.S. Coast Guard’s HH-65 inventory represents 10 percent of the global Dauphin-series fleet – while accumulating 20 percent of the five million flight hours logged worldwide by these helicopters.

About American Eurocopter
American Eurocopter is the American subsidiary of Eurocopter, the largest helicopter manufacturer in the world, and EADS North America, the North American operations of EADS, the second largest aerospace and defense company in the world. American Eurocopter markets, sells and supports the broadest range of civil and para-public helicopters offered by any manufacturer. The product line represents the most cost-effective, technologically-advanced helicopters, ranging from light single to heavy twin, serving all markets and missions. American Eurocopter's headquarters and main facility are in Grand Prairie, TX, with a large new manufacturing and production facility in Columbus, Mississippi.

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