History

1965:

The Canadian Department of Transport receives the first SA316B Alouette II with two more aircraft delivered in 1966. Used from Quebec City to maintain maritime navigation aids and operated from ice breakers. All three transferred to Victoria airport in late 1960's and used on the Pacific Coast to support remote lighthouses along the Mackenzie River and Western Arctic, NWT until replaced by new MBB B0105's in early 1980's.

1965

1965 1965

1969:

LTV in Texas obtains America's distribution rights to the French helicopter family. With Sales representatives hired for Western and Eastern Canada looking to increase the market share in Canada, where French products were already more numerous than in the US, mostly in Alberta and Quebec.

1969

1974:

Aerospatiale buys Vought Helicopter Corp and rebrands as Aerospatiale Helicopter Corp in Grande Prairie, TX. Main products flown in Canada are the Alouette II and III, SA315B Lama and SA341G Gazelle. Approximately 50-60 flying in Canada.

1974

1979:

The AS350 D replaces the AS350 C. There are a large number of Canadian orders placed in a booming economy. Aerospatiale spare facilities in Calgary and Montreal expands services.

1979

Early 1980's:

Okanagan and Sealand order Super Puma's for offshore use. Additionally, Okanagan buys BO105's to fly. Esso and Dome Petroleum buy BO105's for use in the Beaufort Sea.

Frontier purchases the first Canadian AS350 B and Kenting Helicopters buys the first AS355 TwinStar for offshore use in Arctic.

Early-1980's

1982:

Five OEM's submit bids for manufacturing helicopters for the Canadian Coast Guard. MBB is selected as one of two OEM's.

The Canadian Coast Guard buys the first two BO105's.

1982

1984-2014:

Airbus Helicopters Canada Limited celebrates its 30 years of as it was formed in 1984 in Fort Erie, Ontario under the name MBB Helicopter Canada Limited and started as wholly-owned by Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB), a German aerospace company formed as the result of several mergers in the late 1960's. Currently, there are 190 Airbus Helicopters customers in Canada flying 680 aircraft in Canada supported from company headquarters in Fort Erie, which also manufactures parts for Airbus Helicopters in service throughout the World.

1984-2014

1986:

In the summer of 1986, Ranger Helicopters of Toronto started a high frequency helicopter shuttle service using three Aerospatiale AStars and a TwinStar painted in Air Canada colours to fly between downtown Toronto and Lester B. Pearson International Airport. The helicopter service was designed to help Air Canada increase its market share in the high yield business travel market in Toronto and provide a downtown connecting service for passengers heading to Montreal and Ottawa. The AStars were extremely reliable and achieved 99.94 percent availability.

1986 Shuttle Service to Downtown Toronto

1989:

Canadian Helicopters inaugurated scheduled helicopter passenger service between Vancouver and the year-round resort of Whistler, BC with AS350 B AStar helicopters. The flights from Vancouver International and the Downtown Vancouver Heliport near Canada Place cut the 2 ½ hour drive over 140 km of winding mountain roads to just 30 minutes. Besides the time saving convenience, the "Whistler Heli Express" service by over rugged coastal scenery offered passengers spectacular views of mountains, glaciers, cliffs, canyons, white water rivers and waterfalls.

1989

1993:

The company was restructured as Eurocopter Canada Limited following the merger of the helicopter divisions of Aérospatiale of France and Daimler-Benz Aerospace AG (DASA), which incorporated as MBB. Single-engine deliveries accounted for 77 percent of the North American market. Eurocopter Canada delivers French-designed aircraft directly from ECL to Canadian customers. German MBB helicopters for Canada had been shipped directly to Fort Erie since 1984.

1993

1994:

Eurocopter gained ground in North America and took the lead in new turbine sales to commercial customers. The company's six helicopter families and eleven models of turbine helicopters captured 42.1 percent of the market in 1992, based on figures from the US National Transportation Research Board (NTRB). Eurocopter Canada Limited of Fort Erie, Ontario gained full responsibility for the sales, service and support of the entire Eurocopter helicopter portfolio in Canada. Two BO105's assembled in Canada were delivered to the Virginia State Police after receiving medical interiors from Keystone Helicopters in West Chester, Penn. Virginia State Trooper pilots assigned to the helicopters were trained in law enforcement, search and rescue as well as air medical evacuation. The BO105's were purchased specifically to upgrade the Virginia State Police medevac operations - Med-Flight 1 and Med-Flight 2 - from single to twin engine helicopters. In the medical transport role, the BO105's provided coverage from the centre of Virginia to the far southwest coal fields from bases at Chesterfield Airport near Richmond and Virginia Highlands Airport near Bristol. For the law enforcement role the helicopters were outfitted with advanced radio's, high skid gear, a NightSun searchlight and rappelling rings. Eurocopter had 52 operators flying its helicopters in Canada.

1994

1996:

A new chapter begins with the arrival of the Eurocopter EC135 P1 in Fort Erie for flight tests and certification work. The new helicopter underwent 100 hours of ground run tests between January and March to validate P&WC PW206B engine performance before being released for final certification flight tests.

Facility enhancements included a downdraft paint booth and a new autoclave and expanded its composite repair and manufacturing capabilities to keep up with fleet requirements.

The ECL Engineering Department was one of the first in Canada to introduce the CATIA 3-D software modeling system in Canada that would later become commonplace.

Some 340 approvals were obtained for ECL's options, modifications and repair schemes from certifying agencies ranging from Australia to Germany. Customers included dozens of Canadian operators, the Canadian Forces and commercial and government operators on five continents.

1996

1997 - Super Pumas Serve Offshore Newfoundland:

In 1995, Eurocopter achieved a major Canadian offshore milestone when the AS332L Super Puma was selected to support the development of the Hibernia oil field 200 miles (320 km) southeast of St. John's, Newfoundland.

Cougar Helicopters of Halifax won the contract and formed an alliance with Helikopter Services of Norway to lease three AS332L Super Puma's, which arrived in St. John's between March and June 1997. Helicopter flights to the Hibernia Gravity Based Structure (GBS) - the world's largest offshore platform - commenced in mid-April 1997 before it was towed into the North Atlantic.

The helicopters also provided support to a number of international oil companies exploring for oil in the North Atlantic up to 300 miles offshore from St. John's, NL.

AS350 B3 Certified:

Nine months after its first flight, French regulatory authorities certified the AS350 B3.

The latest member of the Ecureuil/Astar family of helicopters, the high performance B3 featured an electronically controlled 847shp Turbomeca Arriel 2B engine and its modernized instrument panel featuring dual color vehicle and engine multifunction displays (VEMDs) to indicate the status of the main platform and engine parameters.

Maximum takeoff weight of the AS350 B3 was 2,250 kg with an internal load, 2,800kg with an external load. This increase in external load capability of 250kg by comparison with the B2 version meant that sling-loads as high as 1,400Kg are possible with the help of a new cargo-swing.

Other improvements included engine control via a twist grip on the pilot's collective-pitch lever, an upgraded main gearbox and adoption of the twin-engine version's tail-rotor.

1997 1997-B3

1998 - RCMP Adds two AS350 B3's to its fleet:

The first Canadian customer for the AS350 B3, the highest performance variant of the single-engine Ecureuil family, was the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

First helicopter refurbished

The first helicopter refurbished in Montreal by Eurocopter Canada Ltd (ECL) was delivered out of its Dorval airport facility.

ECL prided itself on its ability to "renew" used aircraft to almost new condition. This helped maintain the resale value of the helicopter and provided an opportunity for new customers to add a Eurocopter helicopter to their fleet at an affordable price.

EC120 B Certified:

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified the single-engine EC120 B Colibri helicopter.

Development of the five-seat helicopter was launched in 1995.

The Colibri has a cruise speed of 230 kph and a ferry range of 750 km. The service ceiling is 20,000ft and it can carry a payload of 785 kg. From a safety perspective, the EC 120 B Colibri was the first single-engine helicopter to satisfy the new JAR27 safety regulations stipulating crashworthy fuel control systems and pilot and passenger seats.

Primarily for the civilian and public-service sectors as well as, the military market, the EC120 B could handle many different mission profiles, including passenger transport, aerial work, EMS, law enforcement and flying instruction.

Four BO105's for US Drug Enforcement Agency:

The US Drug Enforcement Agency placed an order for four BO105 helicopters and optioned an additional six aircraft.

1998 1998 1998 Bo105

1999 - Fifteenth Anniversary:

The fifteenth Anniversary celebrations held in Fort Erie, ON focused on ECL's long-established engineering, design and certification capabilities.

1999

2003 - First Canadian EC155B Delivered:

The EC155 B was developed as a fast and quiet five-ton twin-engine helicopter for the executive, charter, emergency medical service and offshore markets. This enhanced version of the proven Dauphin family (designated the AS365 N4) first flew in 1997 with deliveries commencing in 1999.

In late 2002, the first Canadian EC155 B was assembled and completed in Fort Erie and delivered in early 2003 to Jetport Inc. of Hamilton for business missions.

The EC155 B boasts the most advanced technologies available including a five-bladed Spheriflex rotor head with an extremely low vibration level and a Fenestron shrouded tail rotor for quiet operation.

In 2006, this EC155 B joined the fleet of CHC Helicopters International of Vancouver, BC for offshore oil and gas missions in the international market.

2003 EC155

2004 - Eurocopter Delivers the First Canadian EC130 B4:

Edouard Gaillat, President, Eurocopter Canada Limited presided over the delivery of the first new EC130 helicopter to Mr. Barry O'Brien, General Manager, Aviation Services for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR).

"Our decision to evaluate the EC130 was easy", said Mr. O'Brien. "We needed a helicopter for initial forest fire attack and the EC130 meets our specialized criteria. The large cabin also provides remarkable visibility and is especially quiet with the shrouded tail rotor. These are very important features in our line of work".

OMNR utilized the EC130 B4 for initial forest fire attack as well as, a variety of utility type operations including: wildlife surveys, fish planting, reconnaissance, compliance monitoring and remote sensing.

2004

2005:

Eurocopter Test Pilot, Didier Delsalle received worldwide recognition when he landed an AS350 B3 on the summit of Mount Everest.

2005

2006 - 400th Eurocopter delivery to Canadian Market:

Eurocopter Canada celebrated the delivery of the 400th Eurocopter helicopter into the Canadian market when Great Slave Helicopters accepted a new Eurocopter EC130 B4 in Fort Erie, ON.

Yellowknife, NWT based Great Slave Helicopters is one of Northern Canada's largest commercial helicopter operators with 64 rotorcraft in serve supporting oil and gas exploration, diamond mining, forestry, firefighting, and construction activities across Canada's Western Arctic.

2006

2007 - December - First Canadian EC135 Delivered:

The first twin-engine EC135 for a Canadian customer was delivered to VIH Aviation to serve customers in the oil and gas sector.

Canada's oldest privately owned commercial helicopter operator, VIH Aviation is headquartered at the Victoria International Airport in British Columbia. At the time the company had a fleet of 65 helicopters through its subsidiaries, VIH Helicopters and Cougar Helicopters with operations throughout Western Canada, Newfoundland, the United States and China.

VIH's EC135 flew on contract in Africa and later supporting offshore oil and gas platforms in Cook Inlet, Alaska. The EC135 is certified to FAR 29, which is becoming a requirement for new oil and gas company contracts.

Eurocopter Canada Limited and MBB Helicopter Canada made an important engineering contribution to the development of the EC135 and earlier BO105 in the early 1990's.

The EC135 was the first new civilian helicopter developed by the Eurocopter Group after the merger of the rotorcraft divisions of Aerospatiale (France) and Deutsche Aerospace (Germany) in 1992 with more than 600 in service in late 2007.

2007

2008 - February - 'Milestone year':

In addition to expanding its main facility in Fort Erie, Eurocopter Canada opened a new logistics facility in Richmond, British Columbia and re-established its operations in Quebec.

Eurocopter achieved a 85% share in the Canadian law-enforcement market, supplying helicopters to agencies such as the Ontario Provincial Police and RCMP.

Eurocopter Increases Manufacturing Capability in Canada:

Eurocopter Canada held a grand opening ceremony for its newly expanded headquarters and manufacturing facility in Fort Erie, Ontario. The newly expanded facility - which had grown to 135,625 square feet - contributed to Ontario's aerospace industry and manufacturing base. The expansion allowed for Eurocopter Canada to further develop its manufacturing of composite components for its worldwide fleet of helicopters including; EC135, EC145, AS365 and EC130 models.

500th Eurocopter Helicopter Delivered to Phoenix Heli-Flight:

Eurocopter delivered its 500th helicopter in Canada - an AS355 NP Ecureuil light twin-engine aircraft. The AS355 NP was the latest variant the highly successful family of AS355 N TwinStar/Ecureuil twin-engine helicopters, which at the time had collectively logged over three million flight hours.

The aircraft was delivered to Phoenix Heli-Flight based in Fort McMurray, which is a major service centre for the Canadian oil sands industry in northeast Alberta.

2008 500th

Oct 2008 2008 Feb May 2008

2009 Eurocopter Canada recognized by Federal Minister of Labour for commitment to health and safety:

The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Labour, visited Eurocopter Canada's Fort Erie facility on April 6th to recognize the ongoing commitment to uphold high standards of health and safety. Minister Ambrose toured Eurocopter's facility and spoke about the importance of health and safety in the workplace. "Eurocopter Canada has worked diligently to implement a number of safety-conscious programs and have seen the results," said Marie-Agnes Veve, president and CEO of Eurocopter Canada. "So, we are delighted to have our efforts and achievements recognized by Minister Ambrose." This year, Eurocopter Canada launched its 2009 Health and Safety program with a long-term vision to become a leader in safety and accident prevention within the Canadian helicopter industry.

Among its 2009 goals, Eurocopter Canada aims to have zero lost-time injuries by providing guidance and training to supervisory employees, better enforcement of safety policies and taking part in the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board's (WSIB) Safety Groups program.

Edmonton police now have two eyes in the sky:

The Edmonton Police Service took possession of a second Eurocopter EC120 B patrol helicopter. 'With a one helicopter operation, there's a certain time that requires the aircraft to be in maintenance,' said Staff Sgt. Dave Berry, flight operations unit manager. 'Any given evening if there's an emergency that we're required to respond to, two-thirds of the time we may be able to go, one-third of the time we may be in maintenance and unable to respond. The addition of a second helicopter is going to afford us the ability to be able respond 24-7 to an emergency.'

BCIT Partnership

Eurocopter Canada and BCIT announce a new specialized training program in airframe and engine maintenance.

Eurocopter Canada Limited (ECL) and the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) announces a Memorandum of Understanding that will see the future development of a specialized training program in airframe and engine maintenance. "This agreement is an example of how important partnerships can be in meeting demand for training programs," said the Honourable Moira Stilwell, Minister of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development. "Through programs like the ones offered at BCIT, we will be able to provide students with the opportunity for training while developing skilled workers for the aerospace industry."

Eurocopter Canada Finalizes Agreement with Canadian Helicopters Limited (CHL) for the Advanced Mountain Flying Training Program:

Eurocopter Canada finalized an agreement with Canadian Helicopters Limited (CHL) on October 22nd and fully endorses the CHL Advanced Mountain Flying Training Program. This agreement is beneficial to the Canadian helicopter industry and the global operating community. This specialized training is unique in Canada and addresses important flight training issues. "This agreement underlines our joint commitment to improving flight safety," said Jean-Pierre Blais, president, Canadian Helicopters Limited. "Eurocopter has been a long term supplier to Canadian Helicopters and its technically advanced products are well recognized within the industry. We are very pleased to have an agreement to team with them and believe their technical support and promotion will assist in providing both a safer environment for our customers in their work and good business opportunities for Canadian Helicopters."

"Our program was founded and developed to equip our pilots with the skills and training to navigate these difficult flying conditions," said Don Wall, Senior Executive Vice President, CHL. "Through partnerships and endorsements from industry leaders like Eurocopter, we can continue to promote advanced flight safety."

25th ECL Anniversary:

Eurocopter Canada marked 25 years of providing quality customer service and technology to the Canadian helicopter industry. The company celebrated its success with many customers and partners, who were operating and supporting more than 500 Eurocopter helicopters across the country, performing a wide variety of missions.

2009 April 2009 July 2009 BCIT 2009 CHL 2009 25th Anniversary

2010 - Red Bull Air Race - Windsor:

A Eurocopter Canada Ltd. EC130 manufactured in Fort Erie, was part of an Ontario government display for the Red Bull Air Race championship weekend in Windsor.

600th Eurocopter Helicopter Delivered to Héli-Inter Inc.:

The 600th Eurocopter helicopter for the Canadian market was delivered to Héli-Inter Inc. of St. Hubert, Quebec.

With the new Eurocopter AS350 B3 delivery, Héli-Inter was operating a fleet of 44 helicopters in 2010, including 23 single-engine Eurocopter AStars/Ecureuils and two twin-engine AS355 TwinStars/Ecureuils.

Eurocopter held a 51% share of the turbine helicopter fleet registered to Quebec companies.

2010 2010 Sept

2011 - Eurocopter Canada and Ecole Nationale d'aerotechnique to Jointly Provide Enhanced Helicopter:

Eurocopter Canada Limited and Ecole nationale d'aerotechnique (ENA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on June 16th to provide helicopter industry professionals and aircraft maintenance students entering the helicopter industry with enhanced technical and maintenance training in the Province of Quebec. As part of the MOU, Eurocopter will provided ENA with Eurocopter and Transport Canada approved aviation instructors to give courses on the Eurocopter AS350 series and EC120 B helicopters, which are widely used in Quebec.

Canadian Certification of AS350B3e:

In late 2011, Transport Canada certified the AS350 B3e - the next generation aircraft in the proven Ecureuil family of helicopters. Officially launched at Heli-Expo 2011, the AS350 B3e is designed to carry out demanding missions in the most extreme weather and geographical conditions. Its exceptional lift capability, high endurance, extended range and fast cruise speed make the AS350 B3e the leader in its class.

2011 June 2011 Nov

2012 - ECL Adds Rotor Hub Repair Capability:

In 2012, Eurocopter Canada Limited became the first Eurocopter subsidiary to establish MRO capabilities to process level-D repairs on the Starflex bearingless main rotor hub for the Ecureuil/AStar AS350, AS355 and EC130 helicopter families.

The repair capability was established in Fort Erie following the delivery of unique tooling from France allowing customers worldwide to "save their Starflex" rotor hubs to help reduce operating costs and the need to buy a new rotor hub.

Geoff Goodyear awarded Eurocopter Canada "Innovation in Safety" Award:

Eurocopter Canada presented the first "Innovation in Safety" award to Mr. Geoff Goodyear, President and Chief Operating Officer, Universal Helicopters Newfoundland Limited (UHNL) at the 2012 meeting of the Helicopter Association of Canada.

Active in the industry for over 33 years, Goodyear incorporates safety into the daily operations of the business and for the industry at large. A past winner of the Transport Canada Aviation Safety Award, an industry leader, Goodyear was one of the first to introduce the S.M.S system.

Eurocopter Canada Produces 300th Cowling for EC145 Aircraft:

In the mid-1990's, the Fort Erie plant began producing composite helicopter parts and accessories for the Eurocopter portfolio. A major company milestone occurred on August 30th when Eurocopter Canada Limited (ECL) completed its 300th composite engine cowling for the EC145 twin-engine helicopter.

ECL was the sole supplier of cowlings for the EC145 and the military UH-72 ordered in large numbers by the United States Army. It also produces parts for five other helicopter models as an AS9100 registered organization.

The Fort Erie subsidiary was also selected to provide manufacturer cowlings for the new EC145 T2, an upgraded model featuring a quiet Fenestron shrouded tail rotor.

2012 Rotor Hub 2012 Geoff Goodyear 2012 300th Cowling

2013 - November - Mr. Paul Spring Awarded Eurocopter Canada, "Innovation in Safety" Award:

Mr. Paul Spring, President, Phoenix Heli-Flight Inc. was the second annual recipient of the Eurocopter Canada "Innovation in Safety" which was presented at the Helicopter Association of Canada (HAC) convention in Vancouver, BC in November 2013. Mr. Spring was recognized for his 37-year career in the helicopter industry and his early adoption and advocacy of innovative safety management systems and new safety monitoring technology.

Finnair of Naramata, British Columbia takes delivery of a twin-engine EC135 for hydro operations

2013 November 2013

2014 - Eurocopter Canada Rebrands under "Airbus Helicopters Canada"

Airbus Helicopters increases its commitment to Ontario manufacturing:

Airbus Helicopters Canada President Romain Trapp welcomed Premier Kathleen Wynne, Economic Development for Southern Ontario and Minister Gary Goodyear to the Fort Erie facility for an announcement for the creation of 40 new high-skill jobs producing engine cowling parts for the top-of the-line Airbus 225 heavy helicopter widely used by the oil and gas industry for offshore crew transportation.

Ontario is home to approximately 40% of the Canadian aerospace industry and Airbus Helicopter Canada Limited is an important participant in this advanced manufacturing sector. Since the mid-1990's, the Fort Erie plant has been recognized as a Centre of Excellence for composite component manufacturing within Airbus Helicopters thanks to the expertise of its team and its competitive manufacturing capabilities.

It produces several composite components for a variety of Airbus Helicopters' leading aircraft models, which are sold internationally in more than 100 countries.

Airbus EC175 Visits Canada for Cold Weather Testing:

In late January, Airbus Helicopters brought the new seven-tonne EC175 to Canada for cold weather trials. Ferried from France to Canada aboard an Volga-Dnepr Airlines Antonov An-124 cargo aircraft, the aircraft arrived in Edmonton, Alta., on Jan. 24th with a team of 14 people, including test pilot Olivier Gensse, two flight test engineers and other support people from the EC175 program.

The aircraft was re-assembled and flown to Yellowknife, N.W.T. where cold weather testing was expected to be completed within three weeks. The aircraft was supported by Airbus Helicopters in Canada as well as, Great Slave Helicopters, who provided a place to hanger the aircraft.

First Canadian EC130 T2 Delivered:

Fox Aviation of Montreal, Quebec took delivery of the first EC130 T2 helicopter in Canada. The aircraft is flown privately and is the third Airbus Helicopters (formally Eurocopter) aircraft in the past 13 years to be selected by Fox Aviation.

"Selection of the EC130 T2 was easy due to the enhanced safety features and state-of-the-art technology. The aircraft is extremely quiet, comfortable and offers excellent visibility," said Jean-Jacques Cossette, Owner of Fox Aviation. "We have always gone back to Airbus Helicopters because of the reliability of their product, as well as the excellent support they provide for our aircraft."

2014 Ontario manufacturing 2014 EC175 2014 EC130 T2

Historical Research by Kenneth I. Swartz