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Friday September 8, 2006 :

German Army Air Corps School in Bückeburg clocks up 30,000 Flight Hours with EC135 Training Helicopters

Eurocopter’s first full System Support Contract for the German Army, a resounding Success

Marignane/Bückeburg : ( Eurocopter Press Release ) - The German Army’s EC135 training helicopter fleet at the German Army Air Corps School in Bückeburg reached the 30,000-hour mark at the end of August 2006. The German Army has been operating 14 EC135 state-of-the-art training helicopters since 2000 and relies on a customer maintenance and service contract with Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH to ensure smooth operation. These helicopters are used for advanced flight training for all parts of the German military.}

Between six and eight courses for budding pilots in the German Army, Air Force and Navy take place in Bückeburg each year. After completing their initial training in a BO105, the trainee pilots then learn to fly in the most demanding conditions including day and night flight, low-level flight, flying in mountainous regions and under IFR flight conditions.

The training the pilots receive using state-of-the-art flight controls and cockpit systems architecture equips them with the skills they subsequently apply when flying the CH53G, UH- 1D, MK41, MK88 helicopters as well as the newest weapons systems, the NH90 and Tiger helicopters.

The innovative training concept relies, not least due to capacity and cost constraints, on high-tech EC135 simulators as well as the EC135 itself, with pilots gaining up to 60% of the required flying time in the Bückeburg simulator center. These simulators are also operated under a cooperative agreement.

With this training concept, Eurocopter is the first full system support provider in the history of the German Army. This maintenance and support concept offers a combination of a flexible personnel structure, high availability and reduced operating costs, which allow us to react to changes in the customer’s training mission requirements rapidly and reliably.

This means that Eurocopter provides full support around the clock for 14 helicopters – including pre-flight checks, refueling, debriefing and all scheduled maintenance, repairs and the full range of support for training flights, such as mountain flight training in Austria and France. The back-to-base support for the helicopters is provided at Eurocopter’s maintenance center in Kassel-Calden, which is distinguished by its wealth of experience in providing maintenance support to international military and civil aviation organizations.

“According to our contract, we always have 12 helicopters ready to fly during the day and six at night. This allows us to operate a two-shift system with 13 highly qualified staff, which reliably provides the army with between 5,500 and 6,000 flying hours per year at present”, says Ralph Kohlstädt, who is the Maintenance Manager responsible for the Eurocopter Line Station in Bückeburg, about the service provided by the Eurocopter team.

“As customers, we are able to concentrate on our core business and expertise, of giving optimum flight training to young pilots, working in a concentrated and cost-effective way by leaving the job of ensuring that our EC135 training fleet is always ready to fly to Eurocopter”, explains Lieutenant Colonel Runge, Flight Director at the Army Air Corps School, about the benefits of the Public Private Partnership between the army and the helicopter manufacturer.

Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defense and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approx. 13,000 people. In 2005, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer with a turnover of 3.2 billion euros, orders for 401 new helicopters, and a 52 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. Overall, the Group’s products account for 30 percent of the total world helicopter fleet. Its strong worldwide presence is ensured by its 16 subsidiaries on five continents, along with a dense network of distributors, certified agents and maintenance centers. More than 9,500 Eurocopter helicopters are currently in service with over 2,500 customers in 139 countries. Eurocopter offers the largest civil and military helicopter range in the world.

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