With 12 H175 now in operation and demonstrating the performance and reliability of the aircraft worldwide, the medium twin-engine helicopter continues to be enhanced in order to bring more value to operators.
Among the programme milestones recently reached is the certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) of a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) extension from 7,500 kg to 7,800 kg, allowing customers to benefit from an additional payload of 300 kg or an extra 40NM radius of action. The extended MTOW provides increased operational flexibility, particularly in highly demanding oil and gas operations.
The MTOW extension is available at no extra cost to the customers and only requires an update of the flight and maintenance manuals. The first H175s benefitting from this upgrade are already flying operational missions in the North Sea.
Meanwhile, the H175’s ability to fly in limited icing conditions has also been certified by EASA, ensuring the helicopter is able to operate in the challenging weather conditions encountered in environments such as the North Sea. Certification for snow operations was also granted at the end of 2016. Additionally, oil and gas H175 operators will soon benefit from automated approaches to oil rigs, along with a sand filter that will be essential for operations in the Middle-East.
In parallel to these development efforts, certification has also been granted in Russia, Mexico and Australia, paving the way to the entry into service of the H175 aircraft in new regions. Certification in the United States, Malaysia, Canada and Brazil will follow.
With the oil and gas and VIP configurations now in service, Airbus Helicopters is focused on the development of the Public Services version of the H175, prior to the first delivery later this year to launch customer Hong Kong Government Flying Services. This new variant opens the H175 mission set to operations such as search and rescue, emergency medical services, law enforcement, firefighting and border security.
The H175 has so far been in operation for offshore transport in 3 continents where it has been praised by the crews by its outstanding performance and reliability well as for the passengers for the visibility, comfort and low sound and vibration levels. In particular, the H175 has accumulated experience in Aberdeen (Scotland), Den Helder (Netherlands), Esbjerg (Denmark) and Takoradi (Ghana) with launch customer NHV — who has recently announced reaching the 10,000 flight hours milestone — and also in the Gulf of Mexico with Pegaso. Since February this year, the H175 has also been flying offshore in Aberdeen with Babcock Mission Critical Services.