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Thread: EC130 Corner
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Old 9th Dec 2007, 17:21
  #43 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2003
Location: UK
Age: 54
Posts: 209
Flew one earlier this year for over 100 hours in the African bush up at 3000' (DA 5000'-6000'). Generally very reliable on maintenance although non-structural items such as baggage compartment walls, door struts etc were a bit flimsy with crappy fasteners. Due to the heat we had two cracks appear in the perspex front canopy, but not in the vision of the pilot. Stop-drilled and added clear tape patch that sorted it out. Had a starter/gen. that needed replacement. The 100 hour can actually be done very quick with great access, but I think the 300 hour is a lot more in-depth. Other issues were sand ingestion despite the filter (Mechanic recommended changing the fuel filter element at half of the scheduled time), and the air-con couldn't cope with prolonged use in the 40 degree OAT.
On the electronics side we had the torque pick-up/sensor that started to under-read due to it moving from its mounted position (giving 'fails' on the power-check).

The main thing seems to be the usual bad Eurocopter support in the way of timely spares. For example we were warned that a new flight control hydraulic servo would take many months to arrive if needed; unlike the Bell 206 where the units themselves could be stripped and stuff like 'O' rings and seals replaced individually - seems like Eurocopter want a complete exchange. Didn't come to that though. Overall the EC130 B4 was a good choice for our passenger flights even though nearly all our fuel was from drums and mechanics had to be flown in. It is a B3 under the skin (same assembly line) and pretty tough.
Love the wide-track skids which eliminate minor slopes compared to the BH206! power was good although watch the crazy (180 ltr/hr) fuel consumption and don't expect a huge leap in power when going through ETL (on the plus side IGE hover is a bit higher).

Flugplatz is offline