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This sponsored article was created by Insight magazine, the sponsored content division of MHM Publishing, on behalf of Airbus.
Airbus strives to be a reliable partner to its 3,000 customers in 152 countries, supporting the flight activity of over 12,000 helicopters in service, often performing critical missions.
In a world where that activity is picking up in complex and uncertain times, being able to reach everywhere in record time with tailor-made capabilities is an essential criteria. Innovation and transformation are at the heart of Airbus Helicopters’ strategy to anticipate these changes.
Our customers’ operational environments are ever-evolving, and we make it our mission to provide those who serve, protect, save lives and safely carry passengers in demanding environments with best-in-class solutions that answer their superior requirements.
The versatile H160, our EMS workhorses, the H135 and H145, and our latest flying laboratory, the DisruptiveLab, are but a few examples of how we turn these challenges into opportunities to equip our customers with the highest levels of performance and reliability in operation, whilst supporting them in reducing their environmental footprint.
The H160 receives FAA certification
Set to perform a wide array of operations, Airbus Helicopters’ next-generation rotorcraft, the H160, has been selected by operators in all mission segments.
The rotorcraft’s capabilities are already supporting customers in Japan, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Europe, and the fleet has accumulated more than 2,200 flight hours for operations as varied as electronic news gathering, public service, private and business aviation or law enforcement.
Overall, Airbus Helicopters has received orders for more than 100 H160s from customers around the world, including more than a dozen from U.S. customers.
Marking a new milestone in the journey of the H160, the helicopter was certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) earlier this year, enabling Airbus Helicopters to start deliveries to U.S. customers who had already selected the rotorcraft.
Customers can expect a seamless entry of the H160 into the North American market, with many years of work already dedicated to ensuring a smooth transition. This includes the addition of North America’s first H160 Level D full flight simulator, which is expected to be available for use in Grand Prairie, Texas, as early as the second half of 2025.
Essential partners for essential missions
Incremental innovation is our motto. We make sure our whole range provides customers with the necessary efficiency to perform their essential missions.
Our H135 and H145 are testament to this commitment, with their custom features designed to enhance operational capabilities. For instance, the Bavarian police’s fully-equipped H145s will feature a state-of-the-art computer system with tactical police mission software, easily operated by a foldable flat screen mission command station for an operator in the cabin and a stowable monitor for the copilot.
The crew will be aided by a modern lighting concept and leading-edge camera solutions, offering better situational awareness of the helicopter’s surroundings and events on the ground. Additional features, such as illuminated blade tips, improve the safety on board during essential police operations.
True workhorses for multiple mission segments, including for emergency medical services, law enforcement and energy, as well as military applications, the H135 and H145 are proven helicopter types that have respectively clocked in nearly 6.5 and 7 million flight hours, demonstrating that they’re trusted partners for operators.
The 1,500th H135 was delivered to German EMS specialist ADAC Luftrettung in August 2023, whilst the five-bladed version of the H145 continues to be a successful addition to our customers’ fleets.
To prepare the fleet of tomorrow, Airbus Helicopters is working on the technologies that will equip customers with the means to increase their rotorcraft’s performance whilst contributing to lower carbon operations.
A key driver to reach this goal, our DisruptiveLab is a flying laboratory that is designed to test new aerodynamic features and flight technologies to help reduce CO2 emissions by up to 50 percent. The demonstrator held its maiden flight in January 2023 and is set to undergo a series of ground and flight tests to measure the consolidated impact of the new features it is testing.
Another key stream in our innovation roadmap is autonomy, and specifically the Vertex system that has been introduced onboard the FlightLab demonstrator.
Vertex is an Airbus UpNext and Airbus Helicopters project destined to test autonomous flight features to simplify mission management and help reduce pilot workload through innovative devices such as LiDAR sensors, fly-by-wire technology and Eagle, our real-time onboard image processing system. The results of the tests will be integrated into the design of CityAirbus NextGen’s simplified flight controls.
Ready when you are
Once ready for operations, we also make sure to provide our customers with the highest quality services to support them and their fleet. 2023 is shaping out to be a successful year for our support and services offering, with an increasing number of HCare customers, demonstrating the value-add of tailor-made service packages for operators.
The 360-degree full-motion virtual reality simulator designed with Loft Dynamics is already a favorite amongst H125 operators and we are currently co-developing a version for the H145. The H125 training device is expected to receive FAA certification in the coming months, making it perfectly suited for US customers who are looking for a compact training solution and realistic flight behavior.