Colin James, Airbus Helicopters’ UK managing director, formally handed over the first of four H125 helicopters Empire Test Pilot School (ETPS) to Nic Anderson, managing director of air and space, Qinetiq at the Farnborough Air Show.
Under the current modernisation programme, the test pilot flight school will receive four H125s, which will make up ETPS’ new generation, single-engine helicopter fleet.
Minister of State for Defence, Earl Howe, visited the aircraft as part of the handover and met both Airbus Helicopters and Qinetiq to show his support for the latest addition to the ETPS fleet.
All four ETPS H125s are being customized by Airbus Helicopters’ UK design team. Modifications include to the aircraft include a 3-axis autopilot, dedicated communications equipment and a traffic awareness system.
In addition, the aircraft are being equipped with a Flight Test Instrumentation suite which, similar to Formula 1 telemetry data, transmits data to the ETPS base at Boscombe Down in real time to enable students, both in practical and class-based environments, to test and evaluate aircraft design and performance.