Airbus Helicopters Flies H160 Prototype

Airbus Helicopters announced at the Paris Air Show on June 18 that it had flown the prototype of its new H160. The helicopter made its maiden flight at Marignane, France, on Saturday, June 13, shortly after beginning its ground runs at the end of May.

The aircraft flew for about 40 minutes in ground effect, which allowed the flight test team to check the overall behaviour of the aircraft and to verify measurements. “The first flight was very promising in terms of stability, vibrations and sound levels,” said Olivier Gensse, the flight test pilot, upon landing the aircraft.

This begins the flight test campaign and the next flights will progressively open the flight envelope. The aircraft already reached 130kts (240km/h) during the second flight on Wednesday, June 17.

“We are very proud that the H160 has reached another milestone on time,” said Bernard Fujarski, head of the H160 programme. “The dedication of the team working on the programme 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 articles. The first prototype will pursue its flight test campaign, including its first hot weather flight tests planned for this summer. The second prototype performed its first power-on test on June 12.

The type is initially aimed at offshore transportation, business and private aviation, public services and commercial passenger transport.  It is also expected to find customers requiring the type for parapublic, search and rescue and military roles. Alan Warnes