The EC130 B4 is a development of the AS350 B3. In fact, during its development it was referred to as the AS350 B4. However, this may have been a ruse to disguise the fact that a major redesign of the fuselage and a significant upgrade of the dynamic system were in work. In fact, development and certification were done in considerable secrecy and development of this helicopter was not announced until after certification was received. The primary change made with the EC130 B4 is the widening and lengthening of the cabin to accommodate one pilot and up to seven passengers. In addition, a Fenestron tail rotor was substituted for the conventional two-blade tail rotor found on the AS350 and an upgraded engine was installed. A primary focus of this redesign was to reduce the external noise of the helicopter in order to be well below current noise limits and thereby be a “good neighbor” when used for sightseeing. The redesign also changed the external appearance of the fuselage by incorporating the nose of the EC120 and the tail of the EC135.
The cabin can accommodate up to seven passengers in addition to one pilot in a high-density configuration. Alternatively, the large cabin can accommodate up to two stretchers placed one above the other either longitudinally in the cabin, or transversely across the back of the cabin. In either case, there is room for one or two medical attendants. This helicopter uses composites for a substantial portion of the fuselage.
The EC130 B4 dynamic system uses the composite rotor blades, composite rotor head and main transmission from the AS350 B3. It incorporates the 11-blade Fenestron tail rotor from the EC135. The drivetrain for the EC130 B4 uses one Turbomeca Arriel 2B1 engine. The EC130 B4 is certificated to the standards of FAR 27.
The EC130 B4 was certificated in late 2000 and deliveries started in 2001.
The EC130 T2 is a further development of the 130 B4. It replaces the Arriel 2B1 with the Arriel 2D, offering a 14 percent power increase and a higher overhaul interval.