Tag Archives: H160

Cold-weather testing

Airbus Helicopters has successfully completed its certification programme of cold-weather testing of its latest H160 helicopter in northern Finland.

Airbus H160 helicopter happily handles Finland’s freezing winter
Airbus H160 helicopter happily handles Finland’s freezing winter

The company deployed the first serial aircraft to Rovaniemi in Lapland in February where the test team benefited from a period of exceptionally low temperatures down to -37°C (-35°F). The main objective of this second campaign was to confirm the excellent behaviour of the H160 in extremely cold conditions with its serial configuration as the first test campaign in Canada was performed with a prototype aircraft.

Operations took place from the base of Babcock Scandinavian AirAmbulance, which flies Airbus H145 helicopters for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) customers in the region, including Finland’s FinnHEMS and the Regional Government of Åland also in Finland. The campaign included over 20 hours of flight tests as well as a lengthy series of ground tests and a 13-hour ferry flight from Airbus Helicopters’ Marignane base to the test site.

Babcock is the global launch customer for the H160 and will be the first operator to receive the new model. Its new fleet of H160s is destined for EMS and other critical service missions starting in Europe and to be deployed progressively across Babcock’s bases worldwide.

The H160 is an ideal aircraft for EMS operations with its wide-opening sliding door, roll-on stretcher capability and 360-degree access to the patient. It features exceptionally low sound levels in the cabin as well as low vibration levels, providing a beneficial environment for high-intensity care of patients over long distances.

Airbus Helicopters Head of H160 Program, Bernard Fujarski said: «This was a highly productive test programme. The colder the temperatures in which we can successfully fly and operate, the colder the temperatures in which our customers can carry out their work. We have been very happy with the freezing conditions in Lapland and overall with the behaviour of H160».

Airbus has more than 330 highly skilled employees in Finland, primarily in research and development, engineering and project management and notably in mission-critical communications. Its commercial aircraft form the backbone of Finnair’s airliner fleet and its helicopters serve on EMS operations and with the Finnish Border Guard.

The attached photo shows the H160 flying near Rovaniemi.

H160 ready
to the market

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.

Airbus Helicopters ready to sign letters of intent for the H160
Airbus Helicopters ready to sign letters of intent for the H160

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.

Development, industrialization and customer support on track for 2018 entry into service
Development, industrialization and customer support on track for 2018 entry into service

The second prototype

The H160’s second prototype (PT2) took off on January 27 in Marignane, kicking off a busy 2016 for the H160 as it pursues its flight test program with two prototypes.

The H160’s second prototype took off in Marignane
The H160’s second prototype took off in Marignane

The second prototype is the first H160 to fly with the Turbomeca Arrano engines. The first prototype (PT1) had accumulated more than 75 hours of flight testing by the end of 2015, allowing the aircraft to open the flight envelope and validating some of the helicopter’s excellent features and outstanding handling qualities right from the start.

Arrano is positioned at the leading-edge of the new Turbomeca generation of rotorcraft engine. The 1,100 to 1,300 shaft horse-power unit (820 to 970 kW), designed for four-to-six ton helicopters, features an ideal combination of new and proven technologies that allow a significant reduction in direct maintenance and operating costs.

In line with H160 aircraft program schedule, Arrano engine entry-into-service is also scheduled for 2018 and Federal Aviation Administration/European Aviation Safety Agency (FAA/EASA) certification will meet that timetable.

«After a very busy year 2015 in terms of flight activities, introducing PT2 is an important step in the H160 development as we will launch performance testing with the Turbomeca Arrano engines», said Bernard Fujarski, head of the H160 Program. «The development program will benefit from 5 development aircraft; two helicopter zeros and three flying prototypes will be paving the way to entry into service in 2018», he added.

2016 will be an equally active year for the H160 with the beginning of its commercialization and many other milestones in helicopter development, industrialization and preparation of support activities in order to bring a fully mature helicopter to the market.

 


Airbus Helicopters’ second H160 prototype takes… by AirbusHelicopters

Maximum speed

The H160 mock-up is making its British debut today at Helitech, as the program steadily pursues its flight test campaign. The first prototype flights are progressing according to plan and the aircraft has already reached a maximum speed of 175 knots/201 mph/324 km/h and an altitude of 10,000 feet/3,048 meter. As the validation of technical parameters is followed closely, the flight tests also provide a perfect opportunity for the fully integrated ground support teams to optimise maintenance activities.

First flight of second prototype planned before the end of the year
First flight of second prototype planned before the end of the year

The second prototype (PT2) is progressing as per plan since its power on in June. As one of the key priorities of the H160’s development program is maturity at entry into service, the Turbomeca Arrano engines will be installed and tested on the dedicated integration installation called the Dynamic Helicopter Zero before the PT2 performs its first flight by the end of this year.

«The flight envelope opening of the H160 is well paced – thanks to the relevance of our investments in new generation test benches», said Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. «We are excited to present the H160 at Helitech and we are in a good position to begin its commercialisation next year, with the end objective of having a fully mature product ready to be delivered in 2018», he added.

A new generation 5.5 to 6-tonne twin-engine helicopter, the H160 will be tailored for a wide range of applications, including oil & gas operations, emergency medical services, public service, and private and business aviation. Placing customer satisfaction at the heart of its design, the program is continually working with customers on mission specific aspects, whether it is on the oil & gas segment or the VIP segment which just saw the launch of the H160 VIP interior design contest. Customers and opinion leaders will be at the heart of the innovative selection process.

 

H160’s first flight

Airbus Helicopters’ highly innovative H160 flew for the first time in Marignane on Saturday, 13 June, shortly after beginning its ground runs end of May. The aircraft flew for about 40 minutes in ground effect that allowed the flight test team to check the overall behavior of the aircraft and to verify the measurements.

The first prototype of Airbus HC’s new H160 helicopter has begun flight tests, with two more prototypes to follow; service introduction is scheduled for 2018 (Airbus HC photo)
The first prototype of Airbus HC’s new H160 helicopter has begun flight tests, with two more prototypes to follow; service introduction is scheduled for 2018 (Airbus HC photo)

«The first flight was very promising in terms of stability, vibrations, and sound levels», said Olivier Gensse, the flight test pilot, upon landing the Airbus aircraft. The flight test campaign has now been launched and the next flights will begin to open the flight envelope progressively. The new aircraft already reached 130 knots/150 mph/240 km/h during the second flight on Wednesday, 17 June.

«We are very proud that the H160 has reached another milestone on time», said Bernard Fujarski, head of the H160 program. «The dedication of the team working on the program has paid off and we are all looking forward to the final development phase to bring this highly anticipated helicopter to the market».

In order to complete this final development phase and to ensure the H160’s entry into service in 2018, Airbus Helicopters is relying on three dedicated prototypes and two helicopter zero integration test means. The first prototype will pursue its flight test campaign, including its first hot weather flight tests planned for this summer. The second Airbus prototype performed its first power-on 12 June.

Airbus Helicopters has renamed its product range replacing the former «EC» designation with an «H»
Airbus Helicopters has renamed its product range replacing the former «EC» designation with an «H»

The H160 opens a new chapter in the history of Airbus Helicopters. Joining the product range between the H145 (formerly EC145) and the H175 (formerly EC175), this innovative medium helicopter becomes the first new member of the H generation.

The entire design was based on one overriding goal: to create added value for customers in terms of performance, economic competitiveness, safety and comfort. Both cleaner and quieter, the H160 takes a step forward in respect for the environment.

Configurations being developed include offshore transportation, business and private aviation, public services, and commercial passenger transport. The H160 was unveiled at the Heli-Expo trade show in March 2015.

 

Three months after its introduction to the public at the Heli-Expo air show in Orlando, Florida, UAS, and following its first ground run on May 28, the H160 has now successfully performed its first flight in Marignane on Saturday, 13 June