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.
Airbus Helicopters recently delivered the first of two H215s to join the Finnish Border Guard fleet. The helicopter arrived in Finland on 28 February following a training session at the Airbus Helicopters headquarters in Marignane, France.
The H215s will be used to perform Border Security and Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) duties from the Turku and Helsinki bases. The Air Patrol Squadron of the Finnish Boarder Guard carries out more than 4,000 flight hours annually, 1,400 of which in three Super Puma helicopters delivered earlier. The service in addition signed a Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) contract to retrofit the Super Pumas to the new H215 multirole configuration.
“Finland is the 8th largest country in the European Union but the most sparsely populated, with large sea areas and forest terrains and, due the northern location, very challenging weather conditions for SAR operations,” said colonel Antti Pesari at the Finnish Boarder Guard. “The H215’s avionics and autopilot combined with its capability to provide excellent performance in day or night operations are the reason why we are excited to have it join our fleet.”
The second H215 is set to arrive upon completion of a second training session in April.
© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: A Finnish H215. (Image © Airbus Helicopters / Anthony Pecchi)
Brasov in Romania is the new future home of the Airbus Helicopters H215, the successor of the Aérospatiale AS332 C1e/L1e Super Puma medium-lift helicopter. The European rotary wing manufacturer set down the foundation stone on 17 November 2015.
Under the control of Airbus Helicopters Industries, the 10,000 square metres (about 30,000 sq ft) factory based in Brasov will house H215 production from procurement to after-sales, including design office activities, and will provide jobs to more than 300 employees in the long term. The assembly line will be capable of producing up to 15 aircraft per year. The first H215 to roll out of the assembly line is planned for 2017.
All H215 helicopters will come off the final assembly line in a standard configuration, with “optionals” to the needs of the customer ready to be selected. Currently the Super Puma is used in for example the offshore industry, logistic support missions and United Nations peacekeeping operations. Military versions are in use with many air forces worldwide.
The new chopper will include a “glass” cockpit and the 4-axis autopilot used on the H225.
Source: Airbus Helicopters
Image: A Starlight HEMS version of the Airbus Helicopters H215 (Image © Lorette Fabre / Airbus Helicopters)