Airbus Helicopters

All posts tagged Airbus Helicopters

A look back at the maiden flight of the high-altitude helicopter that broke barriers.

The Alouette III SA3160, flown by Jean Boulet and Robert Malus, completed its maiden flight in Bourget on 28 February 1959.

Marignane, 28 February 2019 – Airbus Helicopters NEWS ARTICLE.

This 3rdgeneration Alouette was characterised by its extended cabin capable of holding six passengers alongside the pilot and was equipped with sliding doors. Its main rotor was 11 metres in height, compared to 10.2 metres for the Alouette II and its payload was increased by 250 kg.  

A contender for high-altitude flights.

The Alouette III had notched up successes very quickly. On 12 June 1960, the first prototype landed on the summit of Mont Blanc with seven people on board, demonstrating its excellent performance at high altitudes. Some months later, on 6 November 1960, the 2nd prototype landed on the summit of the Deo Tibba mountain in the Himalayas at an altitude of more than 6,000 m during a demonstration in India. During a demonstration tour in Africa, the Alouette III landed on the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, some 6,000 metres above sea level on 18 February 1973 and then on the summit of Mount Kenya, 5,500 m above sea level, a few days later. The helicopter quickly established itself as a helicopter capable of flying at very high altitudes.

A worldwide success story.

The first aircraft of this series was delivered to Burma on 25 July 1961. The Alouette III was the first helicopter for which the serial manufacturing process took place entirely in Marignane, France. More than 1,400 aircraft were manufactured for 120 customers in 80 countries, including South Africa, Portugal and the Netherlands. In turn, France ordered 180 aircraft for its armed forces and para-public services. The Alouette III was also manufactured under license in India, under the name ‘Chetak’, in Pakistan, Romania and in Switzerland, with a total of more than 600 prototypes.

The Alouette III fleet accumulated more than 7 million flight hours by the end of 2018. Today, nearly 180 aircraft still continue to be in service.


Innovative kit can now be installed by Airbus prior to helicopter delivery.

5 March 2019 – Airbus Helicopters and Swiss Rotor Service (SRS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate in the promotion of the Maximum Pilot View Kit (MPVK) for the H125 and older variants of the AS350 single-engine helicopter (B2 & B3 versions). This will enable customers to have the MPVK installed directly by Airbus Helicopters on newly-built H125’s coming out of its final assembly line in Marignane (France) or out of its worldwide Customer Centers network.

Designed specifically for the H125, the MPVK consists of a large lower viewing aperture and transparent fuselage window fairing, which multiplies by ten the field of view of pilots during vertical work operations. Providing unrestricted pilot view below and to the right hand side of the aircraft, the kit improves the H125 mission capability and enhances the safety for pilots and ground crews in demanding operations such as sling loading, firefighting, confined area operations, search and rescue and emergency medical services, as well as any tasks requiring to operate near the ground and obstacles.

“We are striving to constantly improving the safety, performance and versatility of the H125 in order to better meet our customers’ expectations”, said Axel Aloccio, Head of the Light Helicopters Programme at Airbus Helicopters. “With the MPVK, which will be available this year in new helicopters but also on retrofit, the H125 will further increase its mission capability in important market segments and provide enhanced mission safety”.

Swiss Rotor Solutions AG was founded in 2013 with the purpose of offering services and products for the helicopter industry. The MPVK STC is already EASA, FAA, TCCA, ANAC Brazil and DGAC Mexico approved

“We are really happy to start this cooperation with Airbus Helicopters to further promote the use of the MPVK among H125 operators”, said Thomas Bolzli, CEO of SRS. “At present there are about 30 aircraft equipped with the kit but with a fleet of about 2000 H125/AS350 currently dedicated to work depending on high pilot vertical visibility, we are very optimistic for the future success of this kit”.

Atlanta, 6 March 2019 – CHC Helicopter’s newest H175 will become the first Airbus helicopter to be delivered with digital logcards. The announcement, made at HAI Heli-Expo in Atlanta, Georgia, makes Airbus Helicopters the first helicopter manufacturer on the market to transform paper-based logcards into easy-to-use digital data.

“A logcard is a document that tracks the entire history of critical helicopter parts, from manufacture all along their in-service lives. There are around 2.5 million logcards already in circulation throughout the world today, with some 80,000 new ones being produced each year,” said Matthieu Louvot, Executive Vice President of Customer Support & Services at Airbus Helicopters. “Over time the paper logcard ages, gets misplaced, becomes hard to read and more difficult to use. Our new digital version stores the content in a secured cloud while preserving the existing template, using the same process and stakeholder roles and responsibilities as the paper version, meaning no additional workload.”

”The digital logcards allow us to take better care of ourselves and our customers,” said Sean Toth, Director of Global Maintenance and Engineering at CHC Helicopter, which took delivery of its fourth H175 in January and will convert its paper logcards to the electronic format in April. ”Thanks to them we can better ensure overall compliance, while our staff improves productivity as our logcards are updated in real time.” 

CHC currently operates H175s in the North Sea: one in Norwich, England and three in Aberdeen, Scotland.

The digital logcard is the latest demonstration of how Airbus is committed to developing fully digital solutions for its customers that make processes more efficient and that contribute to quality and safety. They are the result of a collaborative effort involving Airbus customers and repair centres, who were consulted during development and acted as early adopters, participating in a year-long pilot phase.

“The feedback we received from our pilot users indicates that digital logcards meets our objectives of delivering better data quality, smoother processes, time savings, reliability and data confidentiality,” said Stephanie Bonnefoy-Fourie, who leads Airbus Helicopters’ Connected Services business.

New functionalities not possible with paper logcards include the ability to attach documents, archive, search, and immediately transfer a selection of logcards. Future applications include the ability to synchronise data between the digital logcard system and customers’ Maintenance Information Systems (MIS), or to build new analytics around the collected data. 

Rolling out progressively worldwide from April 2019, all customers taking delivery of a new civil helicopter can opt to receive digital logcards at no additional cost. Customers with existing paper logcards can opt to convert theirs to the digital format. Digital logcards can also be tracked online via Airbus’ Keycopter customer portal.


Entire fleet of seven H145s will be upgraded to the new version.

Atlanta, 05 march 2019 – Swiss Air-Rescue Rega has taken the decision to retrofit its entire H145 fleet of seven helicopters to the new 5-bladed version, that was revealed yesterday at Heli-Expo, making them the launch customer for the retrofit of the new H145.

“We’re proud to be amongst the first customers to upgrade our H145 to the new version”, said Heinz Leibundgut, Chief Pilot and member of Rega’s Management Board. “Our patients will profit from the increased useful load. It is a great benefit for our air rescue operation, where every additional kilogram is crucial, especially in challenging environments like the Alps.”

“Airbus Helicopters is pleased that Rega has taken the decision to upgrade its entire H145 fleet to the new version” said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. “We thank Rega for their continued trust in our H145 family of helicopters.”

Rega is currently replacing its EC145 fleet with H145 helicopters. Six out of seven H145s have already been delivered, with the last one to follow in May this year. The helicopters of the H145 family are in service with the Rega for more than 15 years.

The new upgrade of the H145, revealed at Heli-Expo, embodies Airbus’ approach to value creation through innovation. It boasts several new features that will allow customers to enhance their operations: The innovative five-blade bearingless rotor increases the useful load by 150 kg, further enhancing the mission capabilities of the aircraft. This new rotor also improves crew and passenger comfort. Other advantages include a smaller D-value, allowing the H145 to operate in more confined areas, simplified maintenance, and an increased availability rate.

Atlanta, 6 March 2019 – Airbus has signed an order for an ACH160 with an undisclosed Canadian customer.  The customer, who has vast experience in corporate aviation, has opted for the aircraft to be delivered with a custom-made interior.

“We are proud to announce the sale of the first H160 in Canada where we have seen strong interest in this game-changing aircraft. The H160 has received considerable attention from private and business aviation, air medical services, and passenger transport operators,” said Romain Trapp, President of Airbus Helicopters Canada. “The H160’s breakthrough design, low sound levels, smooth flight at high speeds and the product maturity at entry into service, meet and often exceed the premium standards set by operators in high-demand markets.”

The selection of the H160 followed a flight demonstration during the H160’s 2018 North American tour, which demonstrated passenger comfort and the next generation-technology firsthand.

The innovative medium twin-engine H160 is the first member of the H generation. From its inception, the complete design of this helicopter has revolved around the creation of an aircraft with added value for customers in terms of performance, economic competitiveness, safety and comfort. In addition, there is increased external visibility for pilots through the enlarged windshield, lateral and floor level, combined with the aircrafts’ cameras which show one of four multi-functional displays in the cockpit.

Airbus’ digital helicopter avionics suite, Helionix, as well as the 4-axis autopilot, further contribute to the H160’s safety by significantly reducing pilot workload. Along with the integrated automatic functions, Helionix allows the pilot to concentrate on the mission at hand.

The H160 has also been designed to facilitate ease of maintenance, allowing it to reach levels similar to that of a light-twin helicopter. The aircraft’s optimized accessibility has been praised by rotary-wing operators who have had the opportunity to fly in the H160.

ACH – Airbus Corporate Helicopters is the Airbus Helicopters offer dedicated to its private and corporate customers offering end to end service-based ownership experience.


Design to provide ample space and access to equipment for medical crews.

Atlanta, 4 March 2019 – The next-generation H160 is debuting a new air medical interior concept at this year’s Heli Expo trade show, with a cabin-mock up on the Airbus Helicopters booth completed by Metro Aviation. Metro, a longstanding partner of Airbus, developed this specific cabin concept design with needs of North American air medical operations in mind.

“At Metro Aviation, we spend a large amount of time pouring over designs to ensure any configuration that leaves our facility is one that exceeds expectations and eases the burden of air medical professionals who are already faced with a stressful job,” said Metro Aviation Managing Director Milton Geltz. “This EMS cabin concept designed for the H160 was laid out to ensure medical crews have the room and flexibility they need to work efficiently with the right equipment at their fingertips. We are excited about the possibility of completing this aircraft in the future.”

Some key features of the Metro concept interior include machined aluminum cabin floor allowing multiple configurations; four track and swivel medical attendant seats; a Modular Medical Rack (MMR); and an overhead communication panel with radio, audio and touch screen controls.

The H160 is the next generation medium twin-engine helicopter destined for offshore transportation, business and private aviation, public services, and commercial passenger transport. Its entry into service is planned for 2020.

With the largest cabin in its class, wide opening sliding door and positionable stretcher capacity, the H160 is the next generation high intensive care helicopter ideal for long distances critical patient or isolette transport. The air medical configuration on display at the show is just one of the concepts that will be designed for the H160, as this helicopter has the necessary components allowing it to be customized to meet the various patient care mission profiles delivered by air medical providers.

“We are excited to see the wide range of H160 configurations begin to take form, as we gear up for the much anticipated entry into service of this next-generation aircraft,” said Chris Emerson, president of Airbus Helicopters, Inc. and head of the North America region. “Metro Aviation is a trusted partner and performs completions on the entire range of Airbus products. We are impressed with their initial concept and look forward to expanding on its development.”

Airbus Helicopters is the leading provider of helicopters to the air medical transport industry. Approximately 55% of the 2,500 helicopters EMS helicopters flying in the world today are Airbus helicopters. In the U.S. alone, more than half of all new air medical helicopters sold in the last decade were produced by Airbus.

Raising the bar in performance, comfort, simplicity and connectivity.

Atlanta, 04 March 2019 – Airbus Helicopters is unveiling a new version of its best-selling H145 light twin-engine helicopter at Heli-Expo 2019 in Atlanta. Visible on the Airbus booth at the show, this latest upgrade brings a new, innovative five-bladed rotor to the multi-mission H145, increasing the useful load of the helicopter by 150 kg while delivering new levels of comfort, simplicity and connectivity.

“We’re extremely happy to be able to showcase the new H145 to our customers here in Atlanta as this upgrade owes a lot to the feedback they have provided us over the years about the aircraft,” said Bruno Even, Airbus Helicopters CEO. “Our teams have worked hard to quickly bring to the market a set of innovations that we believe will contribute to the success of our customers’ operations. It is their trust in the H145 and all its predecessor variants over the last decades that have made it the fantastic helicopter it has become today, and I want to thank them for their continuous support”.

The H145’s new five-bladed rotor brings a significant increase in overall performance, with a maximum take-off weight raised to 3,800 kg and a useful load now equivalent to the aircraft’s empty weight. The simplicity of the new bearingless main rotor design will also ease maintenance operations, further improving the benchmark serviceability and reliability of the H145, while improving ride comfort for both passengers and crew. The reduced rotor diameter will allow the H145 to operate in more confined areas.

The new H145 introduces new levels of on-board connectivity to customers and operators through the integration of the wireless Airborne Communication System (wACS), allowing seamless and secure transmission of data generated by the helicopter in real-time, including in-flight.

EASA certification of the new H145 is planned for early 2020, with first deliveries to follow later that year. This upgrade will also be offered to current H145 customers as a retrofit option in order to deliver the same improvements in terms of useful load, simplified maintenance and comfort to the existing version of the H145.

Powered by two Safran Arriel 2E engines, the H145 is equipped with full authority digital engine control (FADEC) and the Helionix digital avionics suite. It includes a high performance 4-axis autopilot, increasing safety and reducing pilot workload. Its particularly low acoustic footprint makes the H145 the quietest helicopter in its class.

  • Static display includes enhanced H145, law enforcement H125, private & business aviation ACH145, emergency medical services H160
  • HCare customer support solutions that bring value to customers
  • Innovation corner with high-speed Racer mock-up

Marignane, 25 February 2019 – Airbus Helicopters is gearing up to showcase its mission-ready product and services line at this year’s Heli-Expo trade show, taking place from 5 -7 March at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. On static display at booth C305, show-goers will have a chance to visit the best-selling H145 and to discover its exciting new features, the H125 in a law enforcement configuration, and also to take a moment to experience the cabin display of the increasingly popular ACH145, equipped with an elegant Mercedes-Benz Style interior, part of the quality offerings across the Airbus Corporate Helicopters product range. The conceptual EMS mock-up of the H160 will also be making its U.S. debut for visitors to witness first-hand the exceptional work-space that the cabin provides for these critical, life-saving missions.

“This year’s Heli-Expo will focus on how we constantly strive to provide customers with products adapted to their missions, however varied those may be, and the right services to allow them to focus solely on performing those missions successfully,” said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. “We will also demonstrate how Airbus is working to prepare the future of flight, displaying a scale mock-up of the Racer high-speed demonstrator on our booth and providing updates on our Urban Air Mobility strategy,” he added.

HCare, Airbus’ global customer support and service offer, will be at the heart of the booth with experts on hand to show how customers can improve the availability of their aircraft, optimize their costs, advance flight safety, and improve the asset value of aircraft. Daily service demonstrations, particularly of new digital services, will be performed on the Airbus booth.

Airbus will also be conducting flight demonstrations with an H135 in a U.S. Navy paint scheme, as the company is offering a partnership with the U.S. Navy to deliver the versatile H135 as the best-value training solution for its rotary-wing fleet replacement. The IFR -certified H135, a market leader in the twin engine category, is a proven and low-risk modern airframe that will allow the U.S. Navy to enhance its training curriculum. With a fleet of 1,300+ aircraft, and a proven operational availability rate greater than 90%, it is also one of the most dependable aircraft on the market. 

Stay tuned for updates throughout the show by following us on Twitter: @AirbusHeli, @AirbusPress, Instagram @airbus_helicopters and Facebook. Showgoers can also download the Airbus HPress news app available for Android and Apple devices to keep up with all of the news during the show.

ITALIAN ROTORS
Airbus Helicopters H125 [AS350B3e] ( c/n 8540 ) I-HELJ

Thanks to David GASNIER for this very first image of the latest delivered Heliwest Airbus Helicopters H125 registered I-HELJ … resting at Champoluc (AO), February 2019.