Europe’s only piston helicopter manufacturer has crossed the pond. Guimbal’s Cabri G2 is now FAA certified, clearing the way for operations in the world’s largest helicopter market.
Although not initially designed as a trainer, the Cabri has settled into that segment, with 90 percent of operators using it as a primary trainer. With a fully articulating rotor system, carbon fiber main rotor blades, and a Fenestron tail, the Cabri represents a real alternative to the Robinson R22 and Sikorsky S-300.
There are approximately 100 of the small two-seat helicopters flying in 22 countries, in such diverse places as the United Kingdom, Vietnam, and New Zealand. Founder and designer Bruno Guimbal said he wanted to wait to come to the United States until the machine had proved itself reliable and safe. “I never wanted to start a business,” he said. “I wanted to design a safe helicopter.”
The Cabri also has features that take it beyond a typical training machine. There are multiple power outlets, remote key lock doors, and a separate baggage area. The fuel should last longer than the pilot’s bladder, with 45 gallons available for long-range travel. It’s powered by a Lycoming O-360, has more than 600 pounds of useful load, and has an in-ground-effect hover ceiling of 5,000 feet. Of critical importance to many European customers, and increasingly to U.S. customers, is a low noise signature. The company claims a certified level of 75 dB.