After its worldwide debut at Heli-Expo in 2015, Airbus Helicopters is now launching the commercialisation of the H160 with letters of intent available for potential customers. «The public response to the H160 has been fantastic and we have started discussions with customers for different mission configurations for the H160», explained Guillaume Faury, President and CEO of Airbus Helicopters. «Development is now moving forward with two prototypes flying and a third one being built, meaning that we will soon be able to confirm the aircraft’s performance details that are essential to our customers», he added.
Carrying out twenty percent more flight hours per month than previous developments at the same stage thanks to the System Helicopter 0 & Dynamic Helicopter 0 ground test facilities, the first prototype (PT1) has logged around 100 hours. The second prototype (PT2), that took off on 27 January, 2016 has started performance flight tests with Turbomeca’s Arrano engine. The third prototype (PT3) will join its fellow aircraft in 2017 and will essentially be employed to develop the different mission configurations, testing cabin interiors and optionals that will be available to customers.
At this year’s Heli-Expo, Airbus Helicopters is showing the H160 in a digital format, highlighting its inherent multi-role capacities. A dedicated virtual reality corner will allow future customers to visualize the H160 in different seating configurations for oil and gas missions, public services operations (such as medevac and law enforcement) and emergency medical services.
The H160 will pioneer a brand new industrial model, improving competitiveness and customer satisfaction with the final assembly being performed in 18 weeks instead of 36 for the previous generation. Having partnered with Latécoère Services for a state of the art integrated final assembly line for which the first station will be implemented at the end of 2016, the H160 is gearing up to its serial production. This automated moving flow line will be comprised of two production lines, each equipped with several workstations capable of assembling the different H160 configurations.
Airbus Helicopters associated key operators to the EASA-led (European Aviation Safety Agency) Maintenance Steering Group (MSG-3) process so that all inspection or maintenance requirements have been questioned, all intervals have been challenged, and the resulting maintenance schedule will significantly reduce the maintenance burden and improves aircraft availability. The H160 will be as simple to maintain as a light twin helicopter.
The H160 support and services strategy relies on the digital continuity development process implemented from the beginning of the program. Digital servicing enables a seamless management of operators’ evolving business whether it is airworthiness, maintenance, material management, or training. The H160 will implement a paperless multi-support philosophy, enabling a quick and accurate information exchange and allowing our customers to make decisions faster. With the recent signature of the full-flight simulator partnership with Thales and Helisim, Airbus Helicopters also wants to ensure best in class safety from entry into service for its future customers.