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Airbus Helicopters was formed in 1992 as Eurocopter Group, through the merger of the helicopter divisions of Aérospatiale and DASA. The company's heritage traces back to Blériot and Lioré et Olivier in France and to Messerschmitt and Focke-Wulf in Germany.
Airbus Helicopters and its predecessor companies have established a wide range of helicopter firsts, including the first production turboshaft-powered helicopter (the Aérospatiale Alouette II of 1955); the introduction of the Fenestron shrouded tail rotor (on the Gazelle of 1968); the first helicopter certified for full flight in icing conditions (the AS332 Super Puma, in 1984); the first production helicopter with a Fly-by-wire control system (the NHIndustries NH90, first flown in full FBW mode in 2003); the first helicopter to use a Fly-by-light primary control system (an EC135 testbed, first flown in 2003); and the first ever landing of a helicopter on Mt. Everest (achieved by an AS350 B3 in 2005).
As a consequence of the merger of Airbus Helicopters' former parents in 2000, the firm is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Airbus. The creation of what was then called EADS in 2000 also incorporated CASA of Spain, which itself had a history of helicopter-related activities dating back to Talleres Loring, including local assembly of the Bo105.
Today, Airbus Helicopters has four main plants in Europe (Marignane and La Courneuve in France, and Donauwörth and Kassel in Germany), plus 32 subsidiaries and participants around the world, including those in Brisbane, Australia, Albacete, Spain and Grand Prairie, USA.
Since approximately 2006, Eurocopter has been involved in the planning for the proposed pan-European Future Transport Helicopter project.
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