Maiden flight for Airbus Helicopters new H160.
The first serial-production H160 performed a flight demonstration at the Airbus Helicopters base in Marignane yesterday (17 December) after a seven-year development process.
Three previous prototype aircraft have already accumulated more than 1,000 flight hours.
The H160 will be delivered to launch customer Babcock in 2020. The aircraft took its first test flight on the 14th December. Babcock was first revealed as the H160 launch customer back in March at Helitech 2018 in Las Vegas.
The precise number of aircraft ordered was not revealed. Babcock will be using the aircraft for EMS and other critical-service missions, firstly in Europe, then deployed across Babcock’s bases worldwide.
A second prototype of the H160 finished a year-long demo tour – displaying capabilities for a variety of markets and end-users across the US.
The H160 was first expected to start deliveries in 2018. but this was pushed back to 2019. Now Babcock will be receiving its first H160 in 2020.
In early 2011, the H160 was debuted as a concept aircraft under the name Eurocopter X4. The helicopter was initially meant to be introduced in two stages, with an interim aircraft introduced in 2017 and an advanced version in 2020 which would feature further modifications.
The H160 is a medium-class helicopter and is considered as a direct competitor to Leonardo’s AW139 which has become the go-to helicopter for offshore oil and gas operations. The first AW139 was delivered in 2015.
The H160 seats two pilots and up to an extra 12 passengers, and has a maximum take of weight of 5,670kg. The aircraft cruises at 155kts and a maximum range of 460nm and promises 15% less fuel burn that current generation helicopter engines.
2011 – The H160 is first revealed as the X4 concept
March 2015 – The X4 was renamed the H160
June 2015 – The first H160 prototype takes its first test-flight
December 2015 – The second prototype performed its initial ground run
January 2016 – The second prototype took its maiden flight
October 2017 – Third H160 prototype revealed
March 2018 – Babcock announced as launch customer
March 2018 – Airbus sells the first ACH160, the Airbus corporate version