Airbus Helicopters’ five-bladed H145 has been certified by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), clearing the way for customer deliveries later in 2020. The certification covers the full range of capabilities, including single-pilot and instrument flight rules (IFR) and single-engine operations (Cat.A/VTOL), along with night vision goggles capability.
“Our new five-bladed H145 is an excellent example of our quest for continuous improvement and providing incremental innovation that responds to our customers' requirements", said Bruno Even, Airbus Helicopters CEO. “This helicopter combines value-added features with the robustness and the reliability of a tried-and-tested best-seller, making it very competitive in the light twin-engine market.”
The new version of Airbus’ best-selling H145 light twin-engine helicopter was unveiled at Heli-Expo 2019 in Atlanta, GA, with launch customers announced for almost every market segment. Prior to the successful high-altitude test campaign in South America, where the aircraft set its skids down on the Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Southern hemisphere, the new H145 performed several test campaigns including in Spain at medium altitudes and Finland for cold weather.
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.
This latest upgrade of the H145 family adds a new, innovative five-bladed rotor to the multi-mission H145, increasing the useful load of the helicopter by 150 kg (330 lb). The simplicity of the new bearing-less 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.
Certification by the Federal Aviation Administration is sure to follow later this year. The certification for the military version of the five-bladed H145 is expected to be granted in 2021.
The H145 has always been well suited to various roles and with the new five-bladed version it is set to dominate in the following operations.
Law Enforcement operations
The H145 is capable of being equipped with a modern mission management system for law enforcement operations. Fast and reliable, the helicopter can rapidly transport one pilot and up to 11 officers or two pilots and up to 10 officers to the scene. It is likewise ideal for the transport of special forces.
Its primary roles include patrol, surveillance, and rescue missions, supported by the roomy, flexible cabin, and installation of forward-looking infra-red (FLIR) and daylight cameras that are controlled by an operator who also handles communications and data exchange with ground-based police resources.
Other equipment opportunities include a powerful searchlight, external hoist, and simultaneous external roping capability for two people – one on each side. Additional equipment includes a tactical mission management system, connectivity features and an electro-optical system (EOS) digital camera.
Night vision goggle-compatible cockpit with a night vision imaging system (NVIS) further contributes to the helicopter’s operational flexibility.
Emergency Medical Services
Building on the worldwide use of Airbus’ H145 family in emergency medical services, the H145 is tailored for primary and secondary missions and intensive care transport – benefiting from the easy and safe loading and unloading of patients through wide side sliding doors and large rear clamshell doors. Its spacious, unobstructed cabin was specifically designed to meet the requirements set by national medical regulatory agencies. The cabin accommodates one or two-wheeled stretchers with partial or full suites of medical equipment for operation by three to five medical personnel. The H145 benefits from multiple EMS cabin interiors, which were designed in cooperation with leading EMS providers based on HEMS customer feedback.
The new Helionix suite allows safe and easy HEMS operation under challenging conditions. The helicopter’s low external sound level allows neighbourhood friendly operations around hospitals and in urban areas.
Onshore and offshore oil & gas operations
High and hot capability and the capacity to carry eight passengers plus one to two pilots are attributes that make the H145 a natural choice for onshore and offshore oil and gas passenger transportation and cargo missions.
The H145 can operate in performance class 1 conditions, while its compact airframe can manoeuvre in complex environments, such as oil and gas helidecks.
Equipped with the complete offshore mission equipment package, the H145 is fully compliant with IOGP standards. The equipment list includes an external hoist on both sides, a weather radar in colour, an emergency sea state six floatation system, life rafts, helicopter emergency egress lighting (HEEL), and an automatic deployable emergency locator transmitter. The H145’s shrouded Fenestron tail rotor is the safest solution for personnel on the ground, and its wide cabin with flat unobstructed floor offers a multi-purpose capability.
Wind Turbine operations
The H145 has the best fit for wind park operations and maintenance. Its cabin can accommodate two teams of three technicians with equipment. Its outstanding hover and OEI performance allow safe and efficient hoisting operations.
The offshore wind energy equipment list includes an external hoist on both sides, weather radar in colour, an emergency floatation system, life rafts, helicopter emergency egress lighting (HEEL), and an automatic deployable emergency locator transmitter.
Fire-fighting and other Aerial Tasks
The H145’s high level of performance, including in high and hot operating conditions, its small footprint and compact airframe eases manoeuvring even in confined areas and makes it valuable for aerial work and fire-fighting missions. With its large flat-floor cabin, design-in modularity and a large choice of optional mission equipment, the H145 is the aircraft of choice for a variety of civil missions such as utility, electronic news-gathering or passenger transport.
It can be reconfigured quickly and easily for various roles for multi-mission operators. The access provided through the side and rear doors enable the loading of long and bulky cargo. The H145’s improved human external cargo (HEC) performance brings benefit to commercial winch operators for harbour pilot transfers or power-line maintenance missions.