U.S. Coast Guard Reaches the One Million Flight Hour Milestone With its Eurocopter HH-65 Dolphin Helicopter Fleet
Marignane, 08 October 2007
The U.S. Coast Guard’s fleet of Eurocopter HH-65 Dolphin helicopters has passed its one million flight hour milestone, marking another key operational achievement for the twinengine rotary-wing aircraft that perform patrol, law enforcement and rescue missions throughout the United States.
From the helicopter’s first delivery in 1985, HH-65s have become a key element of Coast Guard aviation, with 96 Dolphins currently in the service’s inventory.
Today, HH-65s operate from 17 Coast Guard Air Stations throughout the continental United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. It was a Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii HH- 65C helicopter that reached the one million flight hour milestone on September 20, 2007 while on a maritime medical evacuation (Medivac) mission with the patient on board. The HH-65 fleet has been assigned new mission responsibilities that include the use of armed versions for the protection of the U.S. Capital region and the interception/interdiction of vessels at sea. Search and rescue remains one of the key duties for HH-65s, with the Dolphins used extensively in lifesaving operations after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, and routinely deployed on missions from sea level to high-altitude mountainous terrain. “The one-million hour milestone is an impressive accomplishment, which takes on added significance considering the environment in which the Coast Guard’s fleet operates and the varied types of mission performed by these aircraft,” said American Eurocopter President Marc Paganini. “All of us at American Eurocopter are proud to be part of this achievement, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with the Coast Guard in supporting, and further improving, the HH-65.”
The US Coast Guards are one of our most important and emblematic customers. Their onemillion flight hour milestone is an extremely symbolic achievement,” adds Dr. Lutz Bertling, CEO of Eurocopter Group. “At Eurocopter, we endeavor to provide the best highperformance helicopters to all our Coast Guard customers together with a fully dedicated customer support in order to allow them to carry out their public service missions efficiently and in the utmost security.”
In the US, all the Coast Guard Dolphins have completed a conversion to the HH-65C version, which incorporated engine and system upgrades to provide even more power, greater maneuverability and increased safety margins. The upgrade was performed at the U.S. Coast Guard’s Aircraft Repair and Supply Center (AR&SC), with American Eurocopter operating a supplemental conversion line at its Columbus, Mississippi facility. Accomplished as part of the Deepwater Program, the conversion was completed ahead of the Congressionally-mandated timeline.
The HH-65 is a version of the Eurocopter Dauphin helicopter, close to 1.000 have been delivered worldwide – with 860 of these aircraft still operational. As the largest single operator of this rotary-wing aircraft type, the U.S. Coast Guard’s HH-65 inventory represents 10 percent of the global Dauphin-series fleet – while accumulating 20 percent of the five million flight hours logged worldwide by these helicopters.
Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defence and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approx. 14,000 people. In 2006, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer with a turnover of 3.8 billion euros, orders for 615 new helicopters, and a 52% percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. Overall, the Group’s products account for 30% percent of the total world helicopter fleet. Its strong worldwide presence is ensured by its 17 subsidiaries on five continents, along with a dense network of distributors, certified agents and maintenance centres. More than 9,800 Eurocopter helicopters are currently in service with over 2,800 customers in 140 countries. Eurocopter offers the largest civil and military helicopter range in the world.
100 years of vertical flight
In 1907, Paul Cornu performed history’s first ever vertical flight. Since then, thanks to pioneering spirits, technological advances and innovative minds, the helicopter has become a key to saving lives, protecting citizens and contributing to economic development the world over. In 2007, Eurocopter is proud to celebrate this anniversary and to share its passion for helicopters.
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