World Helicopter NEWS

Latest NEWS from the helicopter world

PRESS RELEASE – Marignane, 03 July 2024

Airbus has delivered the first H160 in the U.S. to PHI, marking the beginning of H160 operations in the country. This is the first of the initial four H160 helicopters that  PHI will operate for offshore transportation in the Gulf of Mexico.

Prior to beginning commercial operations, the helicopter will be used in a route-proving programme designed to demonstrate the H160’s capabilities in the demanding offshore environment. This will help facilitate a smooth entry into service, ensuring the operator and final customer are familiar with the aircraft’s advanced technology and safety features.

“This is an exciting milestone for our teams and partners,” said Scott McCarty, CEO of PHI Group. “The H160 represents a new era for PHI, enhancing our commitment to safety, quality and efficiency for our operations in the Gulf of Mexico. We are proud to officially welcome this next-generation aircraft into our fleet as we kick off route-proving. Congratulations to everyone who helped make this achievement possible!”

“With its state-of-the-art technology, the H160 has set a new standard in the helicopter industry and we are pleased U.S. customers will now benefit from the aircraft’s superior performance,” said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. “The H160’s lower fuel consumption, its ability to use up to 50% blended SAF, comfortable cabin, and excellent cockpit visibility make it ideally suited for offshore operations, and we are confident that it will excel in PHI’s energy missions.”

The H160 has proven to be a popular choice for customers in North America and the first Canadian delivery of the helicopter type was made recently to Chartright Air Group. The H160 has entered into service in Brazil, Japan, Saudi Arabia, France, and many other European countries.

PRESS RELEASE – Paris, 17 June 2024

The Kingdom of Belgium will procure 15 multi-role H145M helicopters for the army and two helicopters plus three options for the Federal Police. The contract was signed between the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), on behalf of Belgium, and Airbus Helicopters.

“We are proud that Belgium is joining the growing community of H145M users,” said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. “In Europe, the robust multi-role helicopter is becoming the reference for tactical airlift capability, special operations, and medical evacuation missions. We are sure that the H145M will quickly become a key asset to the Belgian defence and security portfolio.”

The H145M is a multi-role military helicopter that provides a broad range of mission capabilities. Within minutes, the helicopter can be reconfigured from a light attack role, with axial ballistic and guided weapons and a state-of-the-art self-protection system, to a special operations version, including fast rappelling equipment. The comprehensive mission packages include hoisting and external cargo capabilities. Additionally, the H145M includes options for future mission capabilities, including data links, further communication systems, and digitalisation of mission-capabilities.

The H145M is the military version of the tried-and-tested, light twin-engine H145 helicopter. The global fleet of the H145 family has now accumulated more than seven million flight hours. It is used by armed and law enforcement forces around the world for the most demanding missions. Germany already operates 16 H145M LUH SOF and eight H145 LUH SAR helicopters and has recently ordered up to 82 additional helicopters of this type. The US Army employs almost 500 helicopters from the H145 family under the name of UH-72 Lakota. Current operators of the H145M are Hungary, Serbia, Thailand and Luxembourg; Cyprus has ordered six aircraft as well as Brunei and the United Kingdom. 

Powered by two Turbomeca Arriel 2E engines, the H145M is equipped with full authority digital engine control (FADEC). In addition, the helicopter is equipped with the Helionix digital avionics suite which, alongside innovative flight data management, includes a high-performance 4-axis autopilot, which considerably reduces pilot workload during missions. Its particularly low acoustic footprint makes the H145M the quietest helicopter in its class.

PRESS RELEASE – Rome,  24 May 2024 17:37

  • PHI agrees to 12 AW189s including firm orders and options plus extensive support partnership 
  • To date, nearly 150 AW189s have been ordered with 90+ delivered to operators worldwide to date

Leonardo and PHI Group (PHI) have signed a framework agreement for 12 AW189 Helicopters to serve the global energy market starting in 2025. These are composed of firm orders as well as purchase options and include an extensive support partnership featuring a service center agreement, MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) agreement, and training solutions for the AW139 and AW189 models. 

“Today marks another significant milestone in our longstanding partnership with Leonardo,” said Scott McCarty, CEO of PHI Group. “Not only are we investing in state-of-the-art aircraft like the AW189, which underscores our commitment to delivering innovative solutions and ensures we are well-equipped to provide unparalleled service to our global customers, but we are also fortifying our repair and overhaul capabilities as we continue to focus on the growth of our world-class MRO facility in Lafayette, Louisiana. We look forward to introducing the AW189 to our fleet in 2025.”

Stefano Villanti, SVP Marketing & Sales at Leonardo Helicopters said: “We’re extremely pleased to further strengthen our collaboration with PHI, now also with the AW189 super-medium and more and more based on integrated capabilities including both advanced platforms and comprehensive support services. This provides further evidence of our commitment to delivering customized solutions by which we can support PHI to meet its long range operational requirement ensuring its fleet can be efficiently sustained by the level of service and proximity they deserve. We look forward to introducing the AW189 and activating the new services contributing to their capability growth plans.” 

Based in Lafayette, Louisiana, PHI has supported the energy industry for 75 years. Today, PHI operates more than 200 helicopters across the globe serving a number of markets, including energy and air medical. PHI currently operates a fleet of over 20 Leonardo aircraft to include AW139 and AW109 helicopters. 

PHI’s AW189s configuration will be fully compliant with the IOGP (International Association of Oil & Gas Producers) Report 690 guidelines. This latest agreement reinforces the AW189 in the global offshore market.   

Belonging to the AWFamily of products, the AW189 combines superior payload and range with advanced technologies to successfully operate a wide range of missions such as energy industry support, search and rescue, passenger transport, firefighting, and law enforcement. Unique features of the helicopter include the capability of the main transmission to run without oil for 50 minutes and a built-in auxiliary power unit. The AW189 is available with more than 200 certified kits and delivered with a comprehensive support and training service package tailored to meet specific customer requirements to maximize mission effectiveness and safety of operations. The type is also certified for an automatic data transmission system enabling the aircraft to transmit performance data to a ground station using satellite communication in flight, 4G cell connectivity, or Wi-Fi when on the ground. It offers a secure way to share an accurate picture of each flight so that Leonardo experts can assess data quickly, thus optimizing maintenance and support. Nearly 150 AW189s have been ordered, and more than 90 delivered to operators worldwide to date. After 10 years since its certification, the AW189 remains the world’s most successful super-medium category helicopter by market size, number of operators, countries, and applications.

A new Photo Report Page just was just added to the website … 100 new images from this event held yearly at Cheltenham racecourse.

Great and complete photo report … All images © Graeme LOVELL.

A new Photo Report Page just was just added to the website … more than 200 new images are the result of an entire days spent at the Battersea Heliport, downtown London.

A great day for a great photo opportunity … All images © Damiano GUALDONI.

PRESS RELEASE – Anaheim, 28 February 2024

Niagara Helicopters has placed an order for six H130 helicopters, confirming a full fleet renewal for the tourism company based in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Each year, the company welcomes more than 100,000 customers from all over the world, providing a nine minute, 27 kilometre sightseeing tour over Niagara Falls.

“In order to continue to deliver a first-class visitor experience, we felt it was time to upgrade our aircraft,” says Denis Pilon, Chief Operating Officer for Niagara Helicopters. “After nearly 10 years of working with Airbus Helicopters, we are confident that the H130 continues to be the ideal aircraft for our operation. We are pleased to be working with the Airbus team again. We look forward to many more years of cooperation and collaboration.”

“We’re honoured that Niagara Helicopters has once again put their trust in Airbus, as they work to deliver exceptional experiences for visitors to the Niagara region,” says Dwayne Charette, President and COO of Airbus Helicopters in Canada. “They are an esteemed partner and we are delighted they have chosen Airbus as their exclusive helicopter provider since 2015.”

The aircraft of choice for tourism, the H130 has a wide, unobstructed cabin which accommodates the pilot and up to seven passengers, providing outstanding visibility through a large wrap-around windscreen and wide windows. Its state-of-the-art technologies, materials, systems and avionics make it a quiet and powerful helicopter. A single-engine helicopter, the H130 is known for its widespread use with sightseeing services, charter operators and emergency medical services.

In addition to the H130’s panoramic seating, the active vibration control system and improved air conditioning contribute to its unbeatable level of comfort. This rotorcraft also offers the most economical operating cost per seat in its class. With the open-space cabin, passengers enjoy spectacular views from their forward-facing seats. Rear passengers are comfortably seated on a raised theatre-style platform. The H130 is a member of the Ecureuil family, which represents 47% of the Airbus-built in-service helicopter fleet worldwide, and has accumulated over 40 million flight hours.

PRESS RELEASE – 27th February 2024

Enstrom Helicopter Corporation is pleased to announce that it has partnered with Kelly Aerospace Thermal Systems to provide air conditioning for Enstrom 280FX and F28F helicopters. The state-of-the-art all-electric system will be STC’d by Kelly and available for installation in factory new aircraft as well as for field installation.

“Air conditioning has been high on our customer’s wish list,” said Dennis Martin, Enstrom’s Chief Commercial Officer. “So when it came time to develop a new system for the 280FX and F28F, we went to the experts at Kelly. Their system is lightweight and incredibly powerful. Enstrom owners will finally be able to enjoy their helicopters in cool comfort during the warm summer months.”

For Kelly, the partnership marks the entry into a new market. “Kelly has long been a leader in air conditioning for general aviation airplanes,” commented Walter Dodge, Kelly’s VP of Business Development. “With that success, we want to expand into the rotorcraft market, and we couldn’t be happier about doing that with Enstrom. Their premium aircraft are the perfect place to showcase our air conditioning technology.”

The new air conditioning system will be available for retrofit later in 2024, and available on factory new aircraft in 2025.

PRESS RELEASE – Anaheim,  28 February 2024

LCI, a leading aviation company, and Airbus Helicopters have unveiled a new Flight Path partnership, which will address the long-term capacity, sustainability and financing requirements of the industry. 

Airbus predicts demand for over 16,000 new helicopters by 2041, with a combined value approaching $130 billion. The new partnership will see LCI and Airbus Helicopters leveraging their combined knowledge, experience and analytical capabilities to identify the infrastructure and financial innovations that will address this demand. 

Flight Path builds upon a 20-year relationship between the companies, which most recently culminated in a collaboration agreement to develop advanced air mobility ecosystems around the CityAirbus Next Gen programme.  Going forward, it will also include investment in further helicopter units, types and technologies, with a growing emphasis around sustainability.

Jaspal Jandu, CEO of LCI, says: “This strategic partnership between LCI and Airbus signals our collective commitment to deliver long-term, sustainable capacity solutions to the market. The combination of Airbus’ long-standing expertise in business development, forecasting and planning, with LCI’s track record in leasing, investing and financial innovation, will enable us to sustainably address the multibillion dollar requirements of the market.”

Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters, says: “LCI and Airbus have worked together in close cooperation for almost two decades, culminating most recently in the delivery commitments for seven next generation helicopters. This new partnership is a natural elevation of this relationship and one that reflects our shared capabilities. Together with our partners, Airbus Helicopters is committed to delivering sustainable growth and innovation to its customers as they undertake their mission-critical work.”

LCI’s fleet currently includes over 50 Airbus helicopters. They are deployed by 14 operators in 10 countries across the globe on a range of missions including emergency medical services, search and rescue and offshore wind.
The first phase of Flight Path will see the committed delivery of at least seven latest generation Airbus helicopters to LCI by 2025. 

LCI has ordered five new Airbus H145 helicopters, all of which are being placed in its joint venture (JV) with Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing Company, Limited (SMFL).  The first two aircraft are being delivered by the end of March 2024 and will be operated in Oceania. 

In addition, LCI will deliver two H175 helicopters by the end of March 2024. The aircraft will be operated in South America.

The new partnership aligns with LCI’s long-term commitment to sustainable growth.  LCI is a signatory of Aircraft Leasing Ireland’s (ALI) Sustainability Charter, with a commitment to driving forward and achieving responsibility goals, centred around 10 priority sustainability principles, including a commitment to achieving net zero by 2050.

PRESS RELEASE – Rome,  28 February 2024 10:00

  • Metro will act as Leonardo distributor for the AW09 in the US and Canadian civil markets for all applications.

Leonardo and Metro Aviation, a prime privately-owned HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) operator and service provider in the US, have announced the signing of a Distributor Agreement for the AW09 next generation single engine helicopter. Metro will act as a Leonardo distributor for the type in the US and Canada for all civil market applications. The Distributor Agreement includes a commitment for 30 units that will translate into Preliminary Sales Contracts. 

This latest deal builds on the collaboration started at Heli-Expo 2023 aimed at supporting the introduction and positioning of the AW09 in the USA and in doing so, benefitting from Metro Aviation’s renowned experience and capabilities in the development of Aircraft Interior & STCs (supplemental type certificates), service and training. 

Gian Piero Cutillo, MD of Leonardo Helicopters, said “We’re excited to perform this further step forward in our collaboration with Metro which paves the path to the introduction of our new single engine in the important North American market. Also, combining our industrial capabilities with Metro Aviation’s extensive and recognized experience in operations and support enhances the AW09 value proposition, providing superior mission capabilities to the operators of this platform.“ 

“I first saw the 09 prototype in 2017 and have been excited about bringing it to the U.S. market since then,” said Metro Aviation President and CEO Mike Stanberry.  “Metro has enjoyed a great partnership with Leonardo and designed multiple interiors for the 09.  We look forward to integrating it into our fleet and performing completions for air medical, law enforcement, tourism, and beyond.”

The AW09 continues to generate a very positive response from all geographies worldwide as the programme development progresses. Rotorcraft companies highly welcome the AW09 for its outstanding characteristics and multirole capabilities that represent a significant evolution compared to existing products in this category. The AW09 perfectly complements Leonardo’s product range in the Long Light Single-segment, introducing an all-new design aircraft to sustain long-term competitive positioning in this weight category. A full-scale mock-up of the cabin, together with the advanced connectivity and digital features of the type, is on display at the Leonardo booth at Heli-Expo, attracting lots of interest within the rotorcraft community thanks to its distinguished features in cabin space and ergonomics, and external footprint. The total number of Preliminary Sales Contracts for the AW09 will soon exceed 100 units globally. 

Metro Aviation is the world’s largest air medical completion center and traditional air medical operator, with more than 170 helicopters and airplanes in 27 states and the District of Columbia.  Metro’s presence is evident for many air medical, law enforcement and other components and installations. Metro has developed and received FAA Supplemental Type Certificates (STC’s) for many air medical components and installations including fixed and rotor-wing. Quite often, Metro not only performs the installation, but purchases the aircraft and trains the ground and flight personnel. Its foundation of safety, quality and customer service has remained for 40 years and is still the cornerstone of the company.

  • HealthNet Aeromedical Services expands fleet with order of four Airbus H135 helicopters.

PRESS RELEASE – Anaheim, 27 February 2024

HealthNet Aeromedical Services, headquartered in Charleston, West Virginia, will soon expand its all-Airbus fleet with the addition of four H135 helicopters. As one of the largest hospital-based air medical programmes in the country, the helicopters will be used to serve adult, pediatric and neonatal patients across the state of West Virginia.

“HealthNet has been a valued partner of Airbus Helicopters, Inc. since 1986, and we look forward to supporting their mission as they elevate their fleet with the addition of four new H135s,” said Bart Reijnen, President of Airbus Helicopters, Inc. and Head of the North America region. “These helicopters will be the first in their fleet equipped with Helionix avionics, allowing for increased mission flexibility and safety that benefits their employees and the communities they serve.”

Airbus’ light, twin-engine H135 incorporates the most advanced technologies available, including Airbus Helicopters’ Helionix avionics suite, which, in addition to the 4-axis autopilot, offers an innovative cockpit layout to enhance situational awareness. Designed with three large electronic displays, the H135’s cockpit is night vision goggle compatible and includes a First Limit Indicator, which highlights the appropriate engine instrument data for the pilot in one indicator.

“HealthNet Aeromedical Services and our three owner health systems are proud to continue to partner with Airbus to enhance our helicopter fleet,” said Clinton Burley, President and CEO. “The purchase of these aircraft exemplifies our programme’s commitment to advancing the delivery of safe and high-quality transport medicine to those we serve.”

HealthNet has exclusively operated Airbus helicopters since the programme’s inception nearly four decades ago, caring for more than 100,000 patients during that time. Their current fleet of eleven aircraft is comprised of H130, H135 and EC145 helicopters.
 
The H135 is the helicopter of reference for helicopter emergency medical service operators worldwide. It combines a wide, unobstructed cabin with excellent performance, range and payload capacity, as well as low sound levels. The oversized sliding side doors and rear clamshell doors enable fast loading/unloading of patients, with additional safety during ground operations provided by Airbus’ signature shrouded Fenestron tail rotor. The H135 is the global market leader for helicopter emergency medical services with more than 700 helicopters all around the world being used for life-saving missions.

To date, more than 1,500 helicopters of the H135 family have been delivered worldwide, all mission segments included, clocking in more than 7 million flight hours.