The third prototype (PT3) of the Airbus H160 helicopter made its maiden flight at the company’s headquarters in Toulouse, France, on October 13, 2017.
Its cabin interior configuration is similar to that of a serial aircraft and will contribute to certification activities and flight testing to ensure the aircraft’s level of maturity ahead of its entry into service in 2019.
“The third prototype incorporates a significant amount of modifications based on feedback resulting from the first two years of testing by development, production and support teams” said Bernard Fujarski, senior vice president, head of H160 program.
“It plays an essential role in delivering a mature aircraft at entry into service and it is also closer to the serial definition with its interior lining and transport cabin configuration” he added.
The first two prototypes achieved over 500 flight hours since the model’s maiden flight in June 2015. Now testing of antennas and optional equipment, as well as complementary hot weather testing, will be performed using all three aircraft.
The H160’s assembly line in Marignane, in southern France, is in the final stages of preparation and will be ready to start serial production shortly. Customer support activities are being prepared in parallel, thanks to the extensive involvement of maintenance teams, through the “operator zero campaign”, using the prototypes and test means to check and improve the maintenance plan, digital work cards and technical documentation, and tooling ahead of actual operations.
The first version to enter service in 2019 will be the passenger transport version – commercial air transport or oil and gas – followed by the emergency medical services (EMS) version.
October 19, 2017