Ubergrossenbacher Enterprises

So Chuck just got back from the Heli Expo 2015 in Orlando and told me about yet another change at Airbus Helicopters, formerly known as Eurocopter, formerly known as Aerospatiale. Now they are changing the name of the iconic helicopter, known in the States as “AStar” or “Squirrel” from AS350 to H125!

Uhm … what?

To me personally, naming a helicopter “Airbus” already doesn’t make sense and we poked plenty of fun at it last year. But even changing the designation? Well, I’m sure the highly intelligent marketing people have a really good reason for this which just isn’t easy to understand for a simple helicopter pilot, and the costs of changing marketing all the way down to re-writing the manuals and checklists will be absorbed somehow… probably by the customer.

Here is the Vertical Magazine article that was the inspiration for the current strip:

Tagged with: , , , , ,
16 comments on “Ubergrossenbacher Enterprises
  1. Joka says:

    You said it George Stevens. 😛

  2. Deathknyte says:

    I don’t see the point of changing the model numbers from “EC” to “H”. Maybe someone has a relative who works at a printing outfit that they will toss the contract for rewriting the manuals and checklists to?

  3. JP Kalishek says:

    wait, the folks at Airbus are doing something that makes no sense? Inconceivable! (cue Inigo Montoya)
    I liked EuroCopter, they had/have good stuff. I hated Airbus because they did stupid stuff. Design a plane with a fueling hookup the requires a lift to get to … then put the gauges and valve controls down by the landing gear. Make the rudder act one way on the ground then change its movement in the air and sorta forget to mention that part to the folks designing the simulator, or to the airlines flying it, and last but not least, sketchy software controlling the things. There was one 319 that came into MSY that, every time it landed, needed ground maintenance to reboot the plane. Every time. Guess it ran on Windows 95.
    I knew a lady who worked for United who refused to fly on their Airbuses.
    So many really good companies combined to make … not so good stuff.

  4. stef says:

    @Deathknyte: “EC” was for “Eurocopter”, “H” for “Airbus”. It’s totally logical!

  5. KenH says:

    If it aint BOEING, I Aint Going…..

  6. Trantor says:

    I luuuuv you butthurt ´murricans, i really really do! Your whining is music to mah ears! Airbus is the industry leader now, deal with it! >:-))

  7. KenH says:

    Leading in what, precisely? Airliners that fall from the sky in “unexplained” fashion. More than once? Pray tell

  8. JP Kalishek says:

    The comic crew is based in America, but the Brothers Strasser are Austrian by birth and just Mike lives here.
    See, where they are ranked has little to do with it. It is the folks out in the field who deal with them afterwards who hate the things they do (the big planes, not the helos and smaller stuff, though that might have change since I got away … though changing names and numbers for no reason doesn’t bode well) The stuff was designed by committee and it shows when you work on them in the field.
    In a related announcement, Ford has changed the name of the Focus to the Stevenson 193.

    I had a co-worker who worked for Airbus for a while, I teased him about some of their issues and he said the corporate b.s. was why he left, but that was not his department. Then when we got bought out by a semi-notorious international corp. he decided he’d rather not go through that again, and quit, giving his 2 week notice the day it was announced.
    Can’t say I blame him. Amazed I managed to stay 3 years so far.

  9. Bruce Bergman says:

    I could see a total name change if they were running away from a truly bad reputation or a “Series of Unfortunate Incidents” that they were trying to deny were their fault like AirTran… Which is why that’s the first thing I think of when they change names and models for no particular reason.

  10. Trantor says:

    @Ken: You mixed that with the 727, which back then really fell out of the sky on a regular schedule. 😉

    @JPK: Well, the issues within the company are because the french see airbus as a sole french company with minor international participation. And that can be unnerving at times, and i know what i´m talking about, i was part of the A380 rescue in Finkenwerder. We cleaned up the mess that Monsieur Foregards minions left…

    Other than that we´re doing fine.
    Boeing not so, and the last thing that stunned me was the decision to turn the 777 from a million-seller into a niche-aircraft (778/779). Once the 350-1000 and later the -1100 are out, Boeing will be in trouble.
    The 737 is a dead carcass warmed over and over and over and over, which can only be sold because of stupendous discounts, the 757 is gone, the 747 and 767 are on their very last legs, and the 787 is a ticking time bomb (hint: CFRP does not respond well to torsion – you heard it here first!) which will never recover it´s deveoping cost. 34 billion $ already (officially, inofficially a LOT more…) and per Boeings own investor-report still almost 100 million $ loss per delivered aircraft. Yes, one. hundred. million. EACH.

    It´s sad to see Boeing in ruins like that. The merger with McDumbos really made them drop the ball hard.

  11. John says:

    “To me personally, naming a helicopter “Airbus” already doesn’t make sense…”
    You obviously haven’t seen a Mil Mi-26. 😉

  12. Firefox says:

    Hello Mike,

    you forgot one very important point:
    Airbus Helicopters / Eurocopter was formerly known as MBB (Messerschmidt-Bölkow-Blohm) and Aerospatiale. You wouldn’t want to forget the part of the family tree that made such legendary helicopters as the Bo105 and BK117 “Medicopter”.

    As for the Airbus, you should have seen the fuselage section made for the still not launched FTH/HTH or whatever the current name is. And have you never heard of the minibus?

    The naming is also simple: A = Airplane and H = Helicopter, or is that too simple a logic? And not everyone has the luck to have a merger / hostile takeover between manufacturers with the same letter at the front of their name (think Sikorsky and Schweizer).

    As for the number behind the letter, there has never been a thorough order behind that. The EC145 is certified as the BK117C-2 and the H145 (formerly EC145T2) as the BK117D-2 with a trademark once filed for an EC146. The AS350 (known as Ecureuil on the other side of the pond) would never have fit into the Eurocopter naming order (if it existed at all) anyway as it would have had to be named either the EC120 or EC130 (due to: one engine, MTOW 2,3t). So now the naming scheme fits to those of the rest of the worlds helicopter makers: no scheme at all except for a letter or two at the start (there are manufacturers that can’t even afford those; probably due to the marketing department relentlessly wasting money on finding “cool” names for their helicopters) . Although they are still ordered acc. to their MTOW.

    As for the manuals. I guess they’ll just continue as they’ve always done: Keep the old name on the page until it is reworked. So to all the operators of the SA315B Lama out there: Get used to working with manuals having Sud Aviation, Aerospatiale, Eurocopter and Airbus Helicopters written on them.

    Greeting from the other side of the pond.


  13. Kyle says:

    Windows 95?? I would have been overjoyed to service an A330 with Win 95 on it…
    From my experience, looks more like a Windows ME/Vista performance with the interface of MS DOS…

  14. mike says:

    Thank you Firefox. I wasn’t really “forgetting” about the whole family tree and history of European helicopters. It just would have made for a pretty long blog that has nothing to do with the actual strip, don’t you think?! 😉
    Especially considering this comic was just an outlet of me not quite liking that my favorite helicopter type I have flown for 20 years gets renamed and both Stef and I feeling the name “Airbus” doesn’t make sense for a helicopter in the literal sense of the word. (especially compared to “Eurocopter”). Sometimes we like to make light of current events as we have been proofing over the last 12 years…

    Since you are showing strong feelings in favor of all the modern changes and your post being in written in bold as to assure I read it, I assume you are working for the Airbus Marketing Department?

  15. Firefox says:

    Hi Mike

    for those of us working east of the rhine it’s always a bit of a sting to read/hear that Airbus (all of it) or formerly Eurocopter are a “french” company and forgetting that Airbus Helicopters is not made up solely of Aerospatiale. Just look at all the flak going towards the “french” UH-72 Lakota. And the rotor on that turns left for all good measure.

    As for the renaming. I don’t like letting go of good names with a long history either. Let them be enshrined in certification documents for ever after.

    Concerning the new naming convention. I have received a very thorough briefing on the handling of the name changes. And I can testify that AH employees have their fun with the name changing too.

    And no, I do not work for the marketing department. Although we have one thing in common: the results of my work and marketing both produce lots of hot air when they work.

    As for the bold style: I messed up the tags somewhere. I intended to only have the “and” bold.

  16. TS says:

    Sad fact: at least the 737 part of Trentor’s comment is proved by accidents of 737 Max…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *