If ever the unveiling of a civil helicopter attracted much attention, it was that of the Airbus H160, formerly X4, on 3 March 2015 during HAI HELI-EXPO 2015 in Orlando. The futuristic looking helo – or rather, the full-scale representative model that it actually is – is seen as Airbus’s future medium-sized aircraft for civil and parapublic missions, and a successor to the AS365 Dauphin.
Most spectacular are the oddly shaped main rotor blades, which according to the manufacturer reduce noise and increase payload lift. Weight is also saved by using composite materials all around, while on the other hand preventing corrosion, fatigue resistance and excessive maintenance. With a cruise speed of 160kts, the H160 can carry 12 passengers at distances of up to 120nm for oil and gas missions, and a 450nm range with 20-minute reserve in public service or search and rescue tasks.
Airbus Helicopters says the shrouded tail rotor on the H160 is the largest ever, with a newly designed stabilizer providing better flight qualities. Power is supplied by the new Turbomeca 1,100shp Arrano engine, which offers significant reductions in fuel consumption for improved range and payload performance, along with a reduced environmental footprint.
Featured image (top): Futuristic! (Image © Airbus Helicopters / Twitter)