In a ceremony at the Airbus Helicopters plant in Albacete, the Spanish Air Force on Monday 3 October took delivery of its first H215 helicopter with an extensive mission capability that includes Search and Rescue (SAR). The new helicopter will enter into service immediately and be used to offer a SAR capability to the Canary Island.
The aircraft carried out final test flights at the Albacete plant late September, where it was painted and fitted with specific mission systems enhancing its Search and Rescue (SAR) and Personnel Recovery/CSAR missions. The Air Force’s H215 boasts additional fuel tanks that extend its range up to 560 kilometers, an emergency buoyancy system, a high-frequency radio, a hoist, and a cockpit compatible with night vision goggles, among other equipment.
The Spanish Air Force operates several helicopters belonging to the Super Puma family, in both civil and military versions. A member of the Super Puma family, the H215 is a twin-engine, heavy helicopter. Its cockpit is equipped with multi-function digital screens and an advanced 4-axis autopilot which provides flight envelope protection and stability, even the harshest operating conditions.
The Mexican Navy on Wednesday 28 September took delivery of the first of ten AS565 MBe Panther helicopters purchased in 2014, becoming the first customer in the world to receive the new version of this multi-role, medium-class military rotorcraft. The Navy will receive three other units before the end of the year and the remaining six by 2018.
The helicopters will be operated by the Naval Aviation in the Gulf of Mexico and on the Pacific coast, where they will perform a range of missions including Search and Rescue (SAR), disaster relief transportation and evacuation, drug enforcement and coastal protection. The contract also includes training of pilots and technicians to provide the Navy with full autonomy in managing its fleet and optimizing the availability of helicopters
New & proven
The AS565 MBe combines new and proven technologies, according to Airbus Helicopters. It is equipped with two Safran Arriel 2N engines, which enhance its performance in hot & high conditions and enable it to achieve a top speed of 278 km/h and a range of 780 kilometers. It also boasts a new main gearbox, a latest-generation tail rotor and a 4-axis autopilot that reduces crew workload and makes the most demanding missions, such as SAR, easier to perform.
“The Mexican Navy’s first Panther helicopters came into service ten years ago,” said Vice Admiral Jose Maria García Macedo. “Since then they have been our most loyal ally when it comes to saving lives, and it gives us great pleasure to expand our fleet with the more modern version of the same aircraft.”
Mexican Naval Aviation’s AS565 MBe Panthers are able to perform landings on moving ships 24 hours a day, and are thus able to operate right across Mexico’s territorial waters. Their equipment suite includes a main- and tail-rotor blade folding system, a deck-lock harpoon and an emergency flotation system.
A Chinese consortium of three companies has confirmed to buy a whopping 100 H135 light rotary wing from Airbus Helicopters, the European manufacturer announced on 13 June 2016.
Hereby China Aviation Supplies Holding Company, Qingdao United General Aviation Industrial Development Company and CITIC Offshore Helicopter Co. Ltd jointly become the first Chinese customer for the Chinese produced version of the type.
The hundred choppers will roll off the final assembly line in Qingdao in the Shandong province of China, after the plant wil be opened in 2018. The deal was suspected for some time, as all parties involved already signed a so-called letter of intent last year.
The H135 deal will give the Qingdao plant work for at least a decade, meaning Airbus wishes to produce at least 10 machines every year. Airbus Helicopters aims at 600 H135s and follow-up versions produced in China by 2038.
© 2016 Airheadsfly.com senior contributor Marcel Burger
Featured image: The H135 in European mountains (Image © Airbus Helicopters)
Monacair has received the final of six Airbus Helicopters H130, completing the order signed in September 2015.
All rotary wing is used for regular flight services between Monaco Heliport and Nice International Airport in France. Monacair started this shuttle service in January this year after taking delivery of their first H130. Since then, the rotary wing airline sold 15,000 tickets.
For those in a hurry or having the money for it, the heliservice of Monacair reduces the travelling time between Monaco and Nice from more than half an hour to only 7 minutes. With the entire fleet of six H130s in service, delivered in only 5 months, Monacair will now be able to generate 40 rotations per day.
Airbus Helicopters included the cargo pod on Monacair’s H130s, increasing the luggage capacity by 20 percent. The airline manages a fleet of 20 helicopters, while Monaco Heliport only has 8 landing spots. There are now airfields for fixed wing in the small European state of only (!) 2 square kilometers, which more than 30,000 people call home.
© 2016 Airheadsfly.com senior contributor Marcel Burger
Featured image: The entire H130 fleet of Monacair (Image © Amaury Brac / Monacair)
Airbus Helicopters has been selected to supply a fleet of H135 and H145 helicopter for military helicopter pilot training in the UK, it was announced on Friday 20 May. The contract, worth 500 million GBP over 17 years, will see Airbus Helicopters deliver the helicopters and an integrated support solution over the course of 18 months, ready to start training in April 2018.
Over the last 35 years, all UK military helicopter pilots have been trained on Airbus Helicopters, initially with the Gazelle and subsequently with the H125 ‘Squirrel’. From 2018 onwards, the new H135 and H145 choppers will prepare 121 pilots and 99 rear crew per year, coming from both the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force.
The helicopters are already in use as military training assets in the US, Australia and Germany among others. The H135 for the UK will be first to be equipped with Helionix, Airbus Helicopters’ advanced avionics kit which increases performance and improves safety.