The Eurocopter Group was formed in 1992 through the merger of the helicopter divisions of Aerospatiale and Daimler-Benz Aerospace. The company's heritage traces back to Bleriot and Liore et Oliver in France and to Messerschmitt and Focke-Wulf in Germany.
American Eurocopter is a subsidiary of EADS North America, the U.S. subsidiary of EADS.
The company's history goes back to the days of the now-defunct LTV Corporation.
In 1968, Vought Helicopter Inc. (VHI), a subsidiary of LTV, built a facility at the Grand Prairie Municipal Airport for the purpose of marketing helicopters to North America built by Aerospatiale, the French helicopter manufacturer. However, six years later Aerospatiale bought out VHI and took over its own marketing. Two years later, it changed VHI's name to Aerospatiale Helicopter Corporation (AHC). In 1980, AHC built its current Grand Prairie facility.
In 1992, Deutsche Aerospace (Germany) and Aerospatiale merged to form Eurocopter; AHC would become American Eurocopter.
In 2004, the facility in Columbus, MS, was opened and, in 2006, became the manufacturing facility and home for the U.S. Army's newest helicopter, the UH-72A Lakota.
Eurocopter is headquartered in Marignane, France. American Eurocopter is headquartered in Grand Prairie, Texas.
The AS365 was a new design that incorporated composite rotor blades, a composite rotor head and a Fenestron-shrouded, 11-blade tail rotor using composites. The first member of the AS365 family (the AS365C) used a fixed, wheeled landing gear in a tail-dragger configuration. This was changed to a conventional retractable landing gear configuration with the AS365N. This model also used composites for a substantial portion of the fuselage. The cabin can accommodate up to 12 passengers in addition to two pilots. Alternatively, the large cabin can accommodate up to four stretchers longitudinally in the cabin.
The AS365 has had some success in the commercial sector. However, it has been most successful with military and paramilitary customers. For example, the U.S. Coast Guard acquired a fleet of more than 90 of these helicopters, using the Lycoming LTS 101 engine, for search and rescue missions. These helicopters, called the HH-65A Dolphin by the Coast Guard (and AS366G1 by Eurocopter), have proven to be very effective. In addition, the Maryland State Police acquired 13 for their statewide EMS service.
The drivetrain for the AS365N3 uses two Turbomeca Arriel 2C engines and a four-bladed composite rotor head and blades. The AS365N3 is approved for single-pilot IFR operations and is also approved for Category A single-engine operations. The AS365N3, differs from its stable mate, the AS365N2, by having more powerful engines and a higher maximum takeoff gross weight.
The AS365N3 was certificated in 1999 and has been in production since that time.
The AS365N3+ is an improved version of the AS365N3. A new four-axis autopilot APM 2010 was added. It is the same automatic flight control system (AFCS) currently implemented on the EC135, EC145, EC155 and EC225 aircraft. This is the first AFCS designed specifically for helicopters. As a fly through system, it offers no resistance to pilot initiated override maneuvers and maximizes safety and mission efficiency.