16 March 2015 – Airbus Helicopters announced new names for its fleet of production aircraft
this morning, with an "H" replacing the "EC" designation for the majority of
the fleet, while the iconic AStar will change from AS350 to "H125."
The move was announced by Airbus Helicopters president and CEO Guillaume Faury this morning at the company's annual Heli-Expo press briefing, in which he also teased the name for the X4, due to be announced later this morning.
Faury said the naming convention followed the lead of Airbus' fixed-wing division, with aircraft taking designations such as A320 and A350. And it will also borrow the example set for the fixed-wing company's military aircraft, with an "M" prefix following the civilian designation. So, the EC725 will become the H225M.
Faury said the new convention would help position the company's helicopters in its range, and would open up new naming possibilities; previously, the last digit of the "AS" or "EC" names were related to the number of engines. With the single-engine AS350 becoming the H125, this is no longer the case, and he said it gave the company new options for the X4 naming.
However, pilots, mechanics and operators tied to the iconic "AStar" and "TwinStar" names need not worry - the aircraft will retain these nicknames, as will the H225 Super Puma, and the H155 Dauphin.
"Moving forward, we will continue to use these names," said Faury. "They really mean something for you, [and] for the operators."
The new designations include:
EC120 to H120
AS350 B3e to H125
EC130 to H130
EC135 to H135
EC145 to H145
EC155 to H155
EC175 to H175
EC225 to H225
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