Hélicoptères Guimbal is assembling its 175th Cabri G2 at its base in Aix-en-Provence aerodrome in France — marking an increase of 75 units in 18 months.
The General Aviation Manufacturers Assn. said Guimbal produced more G2s in 2015 than Robinson Helicopter Co. produced R22s, even as the R22 has held the lion’s share of the light training market almost since its production in the early 1980s. (However, Robinson did declare it is phasing out the R22 and has adapted a new two-seat training helicopter, the R44 Cadet, which has not yet received EASA certification.)
The G2 global fleet has flown 90,000 hr, in which time it has had 17 heavy landings. Only one had to be written off; the other 16 were repaired.
The largest markets for the G2 are New Zealand and the U.K. The U.K. has just received its 23rd G2.
HeliGroup in the U.K. has also taken delivery of its second G2; the first in April this year. “Demand by students for training in the type has been unprecedented,” said the company’s managing director, Matthew Munson. “We have found the Cabri G2 makes the ideal training platform due to the stable flight characteristics, safety in design and the use of the latest proven technologies.”
The U.S. and Chinese markets are also growing fast. (The U.S. is expected to become the biggest market for the Cabri by the end of 2017.)
G Midwest Helicopters’ chief pilot, Chris Bailey, noted the G2’s added safety features, including rotor intertia, true fuel bladder and Fenestron tail rotor system.
One reason for the growth of the G2 market is new technology, composite body and robust structure. Another is the decline of other training alternatives, including the Schweizer H300, which is no longer fully supported by its current owner, Sikorsky.
While there had been some complaints about the G2 wheels, Guimbal has built a four-wheeled trolley with a lithium-battery powered lifting mechanism. R&WI