Airbus Helicopters completed the maiden flight of the second prototype (PT2) of its new H160 helicopter from the company’s facility at Marseille-Marignane Airport, France, on January 27. The second prototype is the first H160 to fly with the Turbomeca Arrano engines.
The first, PT1, had made its maiden flight on June 12 last year and accumulated more than 75 hours of flight testing by the end of 2015. This has allowed the aircraft to open the flight envelope and validated some of the helicopter’s features and handling qualities.
Bernard Fujarski, head of the H160 programme, said: “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. The development programme will benefit from five development aircraft; two helicopter zeros and three flying prototypes will be paving the way to entry into service in 2018.”
This year (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.
The H160 is primarily aimed at the commercial market, with envisaged roles including offshore transportation, business and private aviation, public services and commercial passenger transport. It is also expected to find favour with some military, search and rescue and parapublic operators. Alan Warnes