Airbus Helicopters announced last week that the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) had issued certification for a five-bladed version of the H145 utility helicopter.
Normally fitted with a four-blade rotor, the extra blade was added to give the aircraft a higher useful load. The certification covers the full range of capabilities, including single-pilot, IFR and single-engine operations, 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 bestseller, making it very competitive in the light twin-engine market.”
Testing the new H145 included medium altitude testing in Spain and cold weather operations in Finland. During a successful high-altitude test campaign in South America, the aircraft set its skids down on the Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere.
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 four-axis autopilot and a low acoustic footprint.
This latest upgrade increases the useful load by 150 kg and the bearingless main rotor is expected to ease maintenance operations.
Airbus believes FAA certification will follow later this year.