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Airbus: An entire range to serve populations

Sponsored Content | May 23, 2024

Estimated reading time 8 minutes, 11 seconds.

Helicopters fly essential missions and often perform life-saving interventions. The instability of our current world has underlined the important role played by helicopters in supporting public service operators that assist populations in demanding environments.

In the midst of new global trends that are increasingly complex and volatile, Airbus Helicopters always seeks to meet its customers’ evolving requirements by continuously improving its current fleet and preparing for tomorrow’s.

From providing emergency medical transport, responding to search-and-rescue missions, or reaching isolated populations, we help save lives, protect citizens, safely carry passengers and safeguard our world for future generations. And we always rely on innovation and lower carbon technologies to do so.

Enabling vital operations

The versatility of Airbus’s civil platforms is an unrivalled advantage for our customers who perform public service missions. From our light single-engine Écureuil to the proven Super Puma family, the diverse strengths of our helicopters provide operators with increased flexibility and reliability.

Firefighting is a prime example of this. The various stages of the mission require different assets — whether to assess the extent of a fire with the H125, to directly attack the fire with the H215 in a water bomber configuration, or to extract citizens or firefighters from the scene with the H225’s exceptional hoisting capabilities.

Another segment where this complementarity between aerial assets is required is energy. The recent certification of our H160 in the United States and Canada makes this next-generation helicopter a major asset for operators in this segment, such as PHI which will operate the H160 along with our proven H175.

The H145 is not to be outdone, as it has demonstrated to be a reliable partner for utility missions as well, performing in the world’s first hoist trial operation on floating wind turbines in Norway, alongside the H135.

Making a difference to save lives

Making the world a safer place starts with protecting citizens. As we support our customers in this endeavor, helicopters that perform emergency medical services (EMS) require constant improvements to provide patients with the highest level of care in the first “golden hour.”

Our H135 and H145 keep making a difference, with enhanced features designed to improve performance and comfort while easing maintenance. Both rotorcraft are equipped with the Helionix suite, Airbus Helicopters’ advanced avionics system, making for greater mission flexibility and operational safety.

Their low acoustic footprint makes the H135 and the H145 the quietest helicopters in their class, while their CO2 emissions are the lowest among their direct competitors. Additionally, the five-bladed version of the H145 increases the helicopter’s payload by 150 kilograms (330 pounds), an essential increment for medical cabin configurations.

Innovating for the future

Our H160, now set for entry into service across North America, or the versatile H145 that has become the platform-basis for our new flying laboratory, the PioneerLab, are examples of how we strive to build vertical-lift solutions that not only exceed our customers’ expectations, but also anticipate their future mission requirements.

As our third flying laboratory, the PioneerLab is dedicated to maturing CO2 reduction technologies for twin-engine helicopters. It joins the DisruptiveLab, which flew for the first time in 2023 with the purpose of evaluating a new aerodynamic architecture intended to reduce fuel consumption. Specifically, the DisruptiveLab aims to explore the implementation of hybridization with a fully parallel hybrid propulsion system that enables the battery to be recharged in-flight.

Meanwhile, we recently marked important milestones on our journey to increase aviation safety and reduce pilots’ workload with the FlightLab, which successfully tested an electric flight control system in preparation of a new human machine interface (HMI). This HMI will have one single piloting stick replacing the three conventional pilot controls — cyclic, pedals, and collective — and will be able to control all aircraft axes.

On the other hand, the FlightLab also flew fully automated with Vertex onboard, an interface equipped with advanced autonomous features that is able to detect unforeseen obstacles and automatically recalculate a safe flight path. Both elements will be essential to Airbus’s advanced air mobility roadmap.

Supporting those who fly our helicopters

Our customers’ feedback is what powers Airbus Helicopters’ transformation and how we improve toward excellence. To provide them with the highest level of support from delivery to operations, we revamped our training portfolio with a greater choice of courses, tailored trainee experience and enhanced digitalization.

The new training offer will also reflect the evolution of Airbus Helicopters’ HCare, which saw a successful trend in 2023 with numerous operators signing up for these customized support packages.

The increased use of digital tools is among our key drivers to support our customers and the evolution of their fleet. For instance, more than 1,200 helicopters in our global fleet are now enrolled to share real-time flight data, which in turn, helps us design customized guidance and maintenance plans.

Innovation is a core part of how we design our support offer, and the joint establishment of HMotion with the ADAC HEMS Academy is testament to this commitment. Once operational, this new simulator training center will focus on providing cost-effective training courses for helicopter personnel, including mission and critical flight training for the H135 and H145 family helicopters.

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