Eurocopter EC130 & Airbus H130

More of less mating the engine and rotor system of the AS350 to a widened fuselage of the EC120 Eurocopter created the EC130 helicopter. It is now marketed by Airbus Helicopters as H130.

The EC130/H130 has a streamlined fuselage like the EC120, including the gearbox and engine housing on top. The air intake of the single turboshaft engine is at the front of it, above the cockpit. A good view is provided by single piece front windows from top to bottom with a smaller one in the middle. The latter is supplemented by a square one at the underside of the nose. There are two side windows that taper to the rear. The three blade main rotor is essentially the same as that of the AS350. The curved exhaust is at the back of the engine housing. The EC130 has a shrouded tail rotor or fenestron, in the tail with a vertical fin on top and only a very small fin down. Just in front are small horizontal stabilisers. A key feature of the EC130 are the skids: the are attached to the fuselage at the front and at the back. Like on the EC120 the rear attachments are wide, flat and curved.

At the end of the tail boom of the EC130/H130 is a shrouded tail rotor in a low vertical stabiliser. Note the hardly absent ventral fin and typically shaped exhaust.

The wide fuselage of the EC130 is apparent on this photo, showing the middle front window and square one below. The side windows taper towards the rear.


The original version is apparently supposed to be a follow-up of the last AS350, the AS350B3. Hence the EC130B4 designation. Its main recognition point is the large, hinged cockpit door on the right side. You can see it open on the photo above. It is much larger than the second door. On the left side, the entrance doors are of about equal size.

EC130T2 & H130

The much improved version of the EC130, the EC130T2, is supposed to be 70% different from the EC130B4. However, on the outside this is not apparent. The best way to recognise this version is to look on the right side, as the entrance doors are about equal of size. Internally, the floor is flat, the engine delivers more power, the structure has been reinforced and access panels are supposed to be different.

This version is now marketed by Airbus Helicopters as H130.

When viewed from the right side you can distinguish this EC130T2 (or H130) by the nearly equally sized cabin doors. (photo: Rob Hodgkins/WikiMedia)

Confusion possible with

Airbus Helicopters H120 (Eurocopter EC120)


The EC120/H120 is similar to the EC130/H130 in many ways. Essentially the EC120 is an EC130 with a narrower cabin. This is visible especially at the front, where the two front window in the middle, and not having an additional square window at the bottom. Also the vertical stabiliser of the EC120 is taller and ventral fin bigger. Finally, the exhaust is tilted towards the left.

Airbus Helicopters H135 (Eurocopter EC135)


Another Eurocopter product, but larger than the EC130. It has two engines, with air intakes and exhausts in the top of the fuselage. Furthermore, the EC135 has a 'standard' tube skids, a four blade main rotor and a small gear box hub.

Aérospatiale Gazelle


The Gazelle was one of this first helicopters with a shrouded tail rotor, like the EC130. The droplet shaped fuselage is also similar, but narrower, as are the tail and main rotor. The Gazelle has its engine placed slightly above the fuselage though, and skids with standard tubes, apart from more subtle differences. 

Leonardo AW09 (SKYe SH09)


The SKYe SH09, now the smallest helicopter in the Leonardo (AgustaWestland) line-up, is slightly smaller than the EC130 and also has a shrouded tail rotor. This is much bigger though compared to the tailboom and tail. Additionally, the AW09 has a 'standard' tube skids, a five blade main rotor and all glass cockpit doors. (photo: Kecko/WikiMedia)