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Eurocopter EC120

By Wikipedia,
the free encyclopedia,

EC120 Colibri
San Bernardino County Sheriff's EC120B
Role Light utility helicopter
Manufacturer Eurocopter
Harbin Aviation Industries
First flight 9 June 1995
Introduced 1998
Number built over 550
Unit cost ~US$1.4M

Privately operated Russian EC120
Privately operated Russian EC120

Spanish National Police EC120
Spanish National Police EC120

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: The HC120 is a licensed Chinese-built variant of the EC120






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





  • 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




  • One in service with FlyCom air surveillance company.

Swedish Jamtlands Flyg EC120
Swedish Jamtlands Flyg EC120
  • 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

Specifications (EC120 B)

Data from {name of first source} Eurocopter EC120 B 2008 Tech Data book

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:Turbomeca Arrius 2F turboshaft, 376 kW (504 shp)


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

See also

External links

Text from Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License; additional terms may apply.

Published in July 2009.

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