- Aircraft History, Specification and Information -
Eurocopter EC120 Colibri
Eurocopter EC120B - C-FBCH - Canadian Helicopters
2006 Eurocopter EC120B
C-FBCH ex.N632W (sn 1467)
Canadian Helicopters Limited
Photo taken Feb. 05 2010
Penticton Airport, BC Canada (YYF / CYYF)
Photo © AirplaneMart.com

The Eurocopter EC120 Colibri (French Hummingbird) is a 5-seat, single-engine, single main rotor, light helicopter. Jointly designed and developed by Eurocopter, China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC), Harbin Aviation Industries (Group) Ltd (HAI) and Singapore Technologies Aerospace Ltd (STAero) at Eurocopter France's Marignane facility, the EC120 B is assembled by Eurocopter in France and Australia. In China, the aircraft is produced by Harbin as the HC120.

Eurocopter has a 61% interest in the project, with CATIC owning 24% and STAero with 15% share.

Design and development

The EC120 B is mostly built from composite materials and has a fenestron (shrouded) tail rotor, making it a particularly quiet helicopter (FAA Appendix J flyover noise signature = 78.7 dB SEL, 6.7 dB SEL below Stage 2 limits). Certified to FAR 27 standards, the EC120 B also features crash-resistant seats and a crash-resistant fuel system.

The design of the Colibri's wide cabin (featuring excellent visibility) makes it suitable for wide variety of civilian and parapublic missions, such as utility transport, offshore transport, training, law enforcement, casualty evacuation and corporate transport. In the casualty evacuation role, the helicopter can carry one pilot and one stretcher patient as well as one or two medical attendants. For cargo carrying, the Colibri can carry one pilot plus 2.94 cubic meters (103.9 cu. ft.) of total useful load volume (cabin and hold). The EC120's 0.8 cubic meter (28.3 cu. ft.) hold is accessible from the side and rear.

In addition to its civilian roles, the Colibri is also used by the military for training, observation and light utility missions. In the latter role, it can carry a sling load cargo of up to 700 kg (1,543 lb).

The EC120 B is able to carry equipment such as FLIR cameras, spotlights and other useful tools. Some law enforcement agencies using the EC120 B include: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Edmonton Police Service, Calgary Police Service and the York Regional Police.

Operational history

The first EC120 B was delivered in 1998 and by 2008, Eurocopter had already delivered more than 550 Colibris to various customers.

In 2004, the United States Department of Homeland Security U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) selected the EC120 B to meet its Light Sign Cutter requirement, a program potentially involving 55 aircraft with a total value of US$ 75 million in then-year dollars. In 2006, the CBP ordered 15 EC120 B helicopters, with a further 5 aircraft since ordered.

In January 2008, the French Defense Ministry selected the EC120 as the French Army's new lead-in rotary-wing trainer, replacing the Aérospatiale Gazelle. 36 EC120 Bs equipped with Sagem avionics will be operated through a 22-year public-private partnership (PPP), with the first aircraft due to arrive in 2010.


EC120 B Colibri: Standard designation (original designation during development was "P120")

HC120: Chinese-built variant of the EC120


- Four EC-120 are currently operated by the Highway Federal Police, Air Operations Division.

- One currently operated by FinnAir out of Penticton, BC
- Canadian Helicopters Limited (C-FBCH - EC120B)
- Two currently operated by Phoenix Heli-Flight
- York Regional Police
- Two in service with Calgary Police Service
- One in service with Edmonton Police Service
- RCMP "E" Division
- Vancouver Police
- One currently operated by LR Helicopters Inc. out of Calgary Alberta

- People's Liberation Army Aviation Corps
- One in service with the Public Security Bureau in Guandong province

- Six in service with the German Federal Police to be used for pilot training.

- Two in service with APOORVA Aviation for training of Indian helicopter pilots.

- As Police Patrol helicopter
- Also used as a light utility helicopter by the Indonesian Air Force and the Indonesian Navy.

- Two in service with State Border Guard Service used primarily for air surveillance, patrol and training.

- Five in service with Federal Preventive Police.

- 1 in service with the company Corvus Helicopters. Registration: SE-JMZ

- 2 in service with the Civil Aviation School. Registration: YR-MDG, YR-MDI
- 1 in service for Direct Aero Services. Registration: YR-ECA
- 1 in service for Corsarul Rosu Air. Registration; YR-YON
- 1 in service for Dunca Expeditii. Registration: YR-MBT

- Republic of Singapore Air Force
- 124 Sqn with four EC120 as basic helicopter Trainer.

- Fifteen in service with the Spanish Air Force as training helicopters.
- Seven in service with the DGT (National Traffic Authority).
- Two in service with the Cuerpo Nacional de Policía (National Police).

- One in service with FlyCom air surveillance company.

- The old Swedish firm Jamtlands Flyg operates three (3) EC120B mainly in the mountainious regions bordering Norway
- Two are in service with Fiskflyg in the mountain area of northern Sweden bordering Norway.

United States
- One in service with Albuquerque Police Department, providing airborne law enforcement support over Albuquerque, New Mexico.
- One in service with Austin Police Department.
- Four in service with the Baltimore, MD Police Department.
- Two in service with the Fresno Police Department.
- One in service with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
- Three in service with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, providing airborne law enforcement support over Manatee County, Florida.
- Three in service with the Costa Mesa Police Department and Newport Beach Police Department (California) (as Airborne Law Enforcement Services), providing airborne law enforcement support over the cities of Costa Mesa, California;Newport Beach, California; and Santa Ana, California (by contract).
- Three in service with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department and used by its Air Support Bureau to conduct police patrols and supporting Homeland - Defense personnel in Sacramento, California.
- One in service with the San José Police Department.
- Fifteen in service with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, used for low-level surveillance and security patrol of the U.S. border. Deliveries commenced in 2006 and are on-going, with another five EC120s on order.

Specifications (Eurocopter EC120B)

General characteristics
Crew: 1 or 2 pilots
Capacity: 4 passengers
Length: 9.6 m (31 ft 5 in)
Rotor diameter: 10.0 m (32 ft 8 in)
Height: 3.4 m (11 ft 2 in)
Empty weight: 991 kg (2,185 lb)
Useful load: 724 kg (1,596 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 1,715 kg (3,781 lb)
Powerplant: 1× Turbomeca Arrius 2F turboshaft, 376 kW (504 shp)

Never exceed speed: 278 km/h (150 knots, 172 mph)
Cruise speed: 223 km/h (120 knots, 138 mph)
Range: 710 km (383 nm, 440 mi)
Service ceiling: 5,182 m (17,000 ft)
Rate of climb: 5.84 m/s (1,150 ft/min)

Vehicle and Engine Multifunction Display (VEMD) with First Limit Indicator (FLI) fitted as standard.

Last updated February 05, 2010
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Eurocopter EC120".
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