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1996-1998

1996

15 February: The ceremony for the first official flight of the NH90 takes place at the Eurocopter plant in Marignane, France. The first NH90 prototype flies in the presence of military and governmental representatives from France, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands (the nations participating in the NH90 Programme), military attachés of several western nations, European industry representatives and world press.

21 February: The maiden flight of the fifth Tiger prototype (PT5) takes place successfully in Ottobrunn, Germany.

13 May: The NH90 participates for the first time in the aerial display at the ILA Airshow in Berlin. The first prototype of the NH90 helicopter (PT1) arrives in Schönefeld airport transported by a Beluga aircraft and after a very short pre-flight inspection is ready to fly in the presence of the officials, press and public visiting the airshow.

First flight of AS365 N3 Dauphin in Marignane on October 30, 1996.

30 October: The AS365 N3, the high-performance version of the Dauphin, conducts its maiden flight.

1997

February: The EC120 is unveiled in Eurocopter’s Heli-Expo booth in Anaheim, California.

4 March: The AS350 B3 Ecureuil/AStar, successor to the Lama, conducts its maiden flight. Its powerful engine predestines it for aerial work. Eight years later, it breaks the world record for the highest takeoff altitude from the summit of Mount Everest.

19 March: The maiden flight of the second prototype of the NH90 (PT2) successfully takes place. The NH90 PT2 is flown by experimental test pilot, Philippe Boutry, flight test engineer, Denis Trivier, and flight engineer, Jean-Claude Rabany.

17 June: The EC155 conducts its maiden flight. This upgraded version of the Dauphin (Spheriflex 5-blade main rotor and quiet Fenestron® tail rotor) provides 40% more cabin space.

20 June: The Tiger industrialisation contract is signed during the Bourget Airshow. 

2 July: The NH90 completes its first fly-by-wire flight, and is the world’s first helicopter to be equipped with a fly-by-wire control system.

July: delivery of the 2,000th single engine Ecureuil/Fennec (an AS350 BA) to DHFS (Defence Helicopter Flying School) in charge of pilot training in the UK.

1998

20 May: A Franco-German Memorandum of Understanding for the production of the Tiger helicopter is signed in Berlin.

22 July: Aerospatiale announces its privatisation by way of a merger with the Lagardère subsidiary Matra Hautes Technologies.

1 August: Patrick Gavin is appointed President of the Eurocopter Management Board in place of Jean-François Bigay, who takes up his new position as Senior Executive Vice President, Aeronautical Sector, within the Aerospatiale Group.

26 August: The French Ministry of Interior announces the purchase of 32 BK117 C2 helicopters through a contract worth 170 million USD with Eurocopter. This new dedicated version of the twin-engine BK117 will be used to cover the entire spectrum of public safety and passenger transport requirements over flat country, water or mountainous terrain.

17 November: DaimlerChrysler makes its stock market debut. Its subsidiary Dasa, a Eurocopter shareholder, is renamed DaimlerChrysler Aerospace AG.

27 November: The maiden flight of the third prototype of the NH90 (PT3) successfully takes place. The trial starts at 5:05 p.m. and for 30 minutes, the NH90 PT3 is flown by experimental test pilot, Philippe Boutry, flight test engineer, Denis Trivier and flight engineer, Jean-Claude Rabany.

First flight of the EC155 on March 11, 1998 in Marignane.

11 December: The twin-engine EC155 B receives its initial type certification simultaneously from the civil aviation authorities in France (DGAC) and in Germany (LBA).

Helicopters history

The full Helicopters history (1920s to 2018)

1992-1995

1996-1998

1999-2001

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