The Arriel 2D engine is off the ground
Eurocopter's Écureuil – a light helicopter that tour operators love, and a success story in itself – can still look forward to radiant days for years to come. The European helicopter manufacturer unveiled its new Écureuil, the EC130 T2, at Heli-Expo in Dallas last February – and secured 105 orders at that trade show, which is fairly extraordinary for a product launch. The ample glass cockpit is one of the EC130 T2's most popular features. And it is powered exclusively by the new Arriel 2D motor from Turbomeca (Safran), which supersedes the Arriel 2B1. This engine will also be used on the AS350 B3e, another bestselling helicopter that Eurocopter introduced in 2011.
A user-friendly engine
"The first thing we did when we started designing this new version of our Arriel engine was ask our customers what they want and need. In a nutshell, they said they wanted a user-friendly engine that they could overhaul at the same time as the rest of the helicopter to ensure availability – and wanted more power, which is invariably handy in delicate situations," explained Jean-François Sauer, the Arriel Program Manager at Turbomeca. The engine manufacturer designed a turboshaft engine to stretch Time Between Overhauls (TBO) from 3,500 (2B1) to 6,000 hours (2D at maturity). This engine also requires fewer scheduled maintenance operations, less often.
New materials and a new control unit
Those truly spectacular gains involved altering 50% of the engine parts (most of them are now made of more resistant materials), and using a new control unit and blade creep counter (to count cycle consumption and schedule hot-part removal as accurately as possible). To make it even simpler to use, the Arriel 2D is fitted with an EDR (Engine Data Recorder) that stores up to 50 hours of motor operation data (the previous one stored 5 hours). If the control unit is changed, the EDR can back-feed all the settings (the operations were longer on previous generation engines). The Arriel 2D has 12% more take-off power, 17% more continuous power, and 2% lower specific consumption.
Arriel 2D deliveries for both aircraft should exceed 200 units in 2012 before stabilizing at approximately 300 engines a years over the following years.
The Arriel 2+ family
The Arriel 2D is part of the Arriel 2+ family, which encompasses Turbomeca's new-generation engines for light helicopters. This young family also counts the Arriel 2E, which will be certified near the end of 2012 and power Eurocopter's EC145 T2 twin-engine. The Arriel 2+ family is expected to grow rapidly over coming years.