News & Events

    Servicios Aéreos de los Andes just signed for 3 H125s for utility work in Peru

    5 March 2015

    Servicios Aéreos de los Andes just signed for 3 H125s for utility work in Peru

    One of the last announcement at Heli-Expo was the completion of the first H125 (formally the AS350) in the United States, performed on the Airbus Helicopters, Inc. final assembly line in Columbus, Mississippi. This milestone rotorcraft is now in completion prior to delivery, meeting a schedule set nearly two years ago to establish a U.S. final assembly capability for the best-selling single-engine helicopter. During the show, Servicios Aéreos de los Andes signed for 3 H125s (1 firm + 2 options) for utility work in Peru.

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    Video: Papillon, Bristow and Dare County - Celebrating H at Heli-Expo

    4 March 2015

    Video: Papillon, Bristow and Dare County - Celebrating H at Heli-Expo

    Watch the Day 2 recap video celebrating the H Generation at Heli-Expo. Today, Bristow signed for 17 H175s to be used for Oil & Gas missions, Papillon celebrated its 50-year anniversary with the delivery of a gold-painted H130 for tourism operations, and Dare County received the first H145 in EMS configuration in the United States.

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    Meet the H Generation

    3 March 2015

    Meet the H Generation

    With the unveiling of the H160, Airbus Helicopters’ corporate transformation becomes visible through the company’s new brand.

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    Making history with the H160: watch the video

    3 March 2015

    Making history with the H160: watch the video

    Airbus Helicopters makes history with the unveiling of the H160, the first aircraft of the H generation. Watch CEO Guillaume Faury present the new helicopter and introduce the company's new branding at Heli-Expo 2015.

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    H160 unveiling: relive the entire event

    3 March 2015

    H160 unveiling: relive the entire event

    Relive the unveiling of the H160 at Heli-Expo 2015. The new medium-sized aircraft for civil and parapublic missions, the H160 is charismatic, a good citizen, and trustworthy.

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    Behind the Scenes: the making of our Heli-Expo booth

    2 March 2015

    Behind the Scenes: the making of our Heli-Expo booth

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    EC175’s first months on the job: High availability with NHV

    First reports back from NHV about the EC175’s entry into service show that the helicopter is performing above expectations for a new aircraft, with 88 percent availability.

    Less than one week after NHV received their first two EC175s on December 11, 2014, the aircraft entered operation, performing oil & gas crew change missions in the North Sea.

    EC175's first months on the job with NHV

    During the nearly two-month period between entry into service and February 11, 2015, these aircraft flew 260 hours with 143 flights a high level of activity made possible thanks to the helicopters’ high availability rate.

    Seventy-eight percent of these flights were commercial in nature, transporting offshore oil workers to, from, and between oil rigs. Eighteen percent were training flights. Around 1,500 passengers have been transported in total.

    First passenger reports were very positive, revolving mainly around cabin comfort thanks to low noise and vibration levels and the extra-large windows.

    EC175's first months on the job with NHV

    The crew has noted the new working environment, which reduces pilot workload and fatigue.

    The EC175’s performance has been in accordance with the flight manual, and all missions were performed as Category A operations at performance class 1.

    As of today, the most demanding missions were performed in wind speeds of 55 knots, while the longest-range mission carried seven passengers plus luggage 175 nautical miles without refueling.

    Nearly 20 percent of the flights were performed at night, representing 65 heli-deck landings.

    In addition, inspections made after the first 50-flight hours and the first 100-flight hours were performed without any need for unplanned maintenance. 

    Much of this success is due to the maturity campaign that was completed prior to the aircraft’s entry into service.

     

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    Malaysia’s flood victims get help from Airbus Helicopters machines

    In December 2014, Malaysia experienced its worst flooding in decades. More than 200,000 people were evacuated from their homes. Cut off from food supplies as rising floodwaters prevented almost all land transport, they desperately waited for help. It arrived in the air: thanks to many Malaysian helicopter operators including APL, with its AS350 B3e and EC135 T2e.

    APL helps Malaysia’s flood victims with the AS350 B3e and EC135 T2e

    After days of torrential rain, villages and towns on the east coast of the Peninsula of Malaysia, were submerged under an unstoppable muddy brown tide. The state of Kelantan was hit especially hard: The National Security Council (NSC) confirmed that the massive flood was the worst in the history of the state.  A total of 2,300 homes were wiped out and 100,000 people had to evacuate their homes. As many roads and railway lines lay under water, displaced families and in some cases whole villages were unable to receive food or water.

    Enter the Airbus Helicopters fleet in Malaysia: Around 10 local operators deployed their Airbus Helicopters aircraft, ranging from the lightweight AS350 B3e and EC120 B, to the medium EC155 and the heavy EC725, among many others.

    The Royal Malaysian Air Force, for example, deployed five of its EC725s along with other assets to conduct flood rescue and relief operations. And Aerial Power Lines Sdn Bhd (APL), an Airbus Helicopters customer which received its AS350 B3e and EC135 T2 light helicopters only six months before the flood, also brought relief supplies to communities in need.

    "Flood victims were asking for the 'yellow helicopters' as they were the most visible platform at the height of the flood tragedy. We penetrated isolated villages that were not accessible by boats, trucks, or any other machine,” recalls Wan Izani, CEO of APL.

    APL helps Malaysia’s flood victims with the AS350 B3e and EC135 T2e

    APL manages and operates helicopters for power line operations and other related aviation businesses. During the flooding it demonstrated its capabilities in relief missions, using its two Airbus Helicopters aircraft to transport approximately 16 tons of food and water into rural areas of the state of Kelantan.

    The AS350 B3e is designed by Airbus Helicopters to carry out demanding missions in the most extreme weather and geographical conditions, thanks to its exceptional lifting capability, high endurance, extended range and fast cruise speed. The EC135 T2 likewise offers high endurance and extended range and can carry more payload over longer distances than any aircraft in its class.

    “Our pilots, crew and the machines demonstrated great precision flying, hover capabilities and versatility to accommodate different types of equipment, food, cargo and passengers in confined areas. Larger helicopters couldn't do this. The AS350 B3e and EC135 T2e made us proud. Our machines and our true passion for people helped us save lives," said Wan Izani.

    APL helps Malaysia’s flood victims with the AS350 B3e and EC135 T2e

    APL, in collaboration with government agencies and NGOs, is continuing to deliver food and other basic needs to remote areas of the region. “We are also ready to perform MEDEVAC missions,” explains Wan Izani. “We are concentrating on places where landing sites are limited to a confined area and larger helicopters cannot land. Given the scale of the problems, we will continue to help for as long as required.”

    Other Malaysian operators who took part in the flood relief effort included Helistar, Royal Malaysian Police (RMP), PLUS, Weststar, MMEA, the Malaysian Navy, Danga Bay, Sunway, Shapadu and MHS.

    Text by Beata Cece

    Photo © APL - 2015

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    Chasing the 2015 Dakar rally with Ecocopter’s AS350 B3 helicopters

    Dakar is known as the world’s toughest off-road race. In the skies and unseen by the TV cameras, this spectacle – which takes place from January 4-17, 2015 – is followed by seven Airbus Helicopters Ecureuil AS350 B3s. These helicopters provide spectacular images of the event and have an even more important role to play if one of the competitors gets hurt.

    A race over 9,000 kilometers: cars, motorcycles, quads and trucks speed through the desert in temperatures of up to 46°C, cross the Andes at 19,000 feet and pass the Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flatland in the world measuring more than 10,000 square kilometres. This is the Dakar rally, widely regarded as the toughest off-road race in the world. Participants follow a route around Argentina, Chile and Bolivia crossing dunes, mud and rocks. Last year, only half the drivers made it to the finish.

    The 37th edition of the Dakar rally started in Buenos Aires on January 4. While on the ground the drivers battle through 13 stages under extreme conditions, they are followed in the air by seven Ecureuil AS350 B3 helicopters, operated by the Chilean operator Ecocopter, who has for the sixth time been awarded the contract to support the Dakar, with its partners Kypreos and Suma Air.

    Three of these helicopters are dedicated to filming, two conduct emergency transport of injured people, one is used for the rally’s director and the seventh is responsible for the transport of VIPs, journalists and photographers.

    Fernando Perez is the pilot of this last helicopter.  As he explains, the race isn’t just an extreme test for drivers and their vehicles: “Sand, sea and salt are also very harsh for the aircraft’s equipment. However, the helicopters must be operative all day and every day, which means any maintenance must be done during short periods at night.”

    As a pilot, too, Dakar is a challenging mission. Fernando does an average of seven flight hours a day and covers around 500 kilometres on each day of the race. To follow the contestants, the helicopters have to fly at 100 feet, “which means we have to pay much more attention to cables and other obstacles”, he explains. “This type of flight is very exhausting for the crew.”

    But these difficulties can be mastered thanks to the experience of the crew and the capabilities of the aircraft. “The Ecureuil has shown great performance in heat and at high altitude, as well as great power and versatility,” says Fernando. “It has proven to be very efficient and reliable. And the simple maintenance was helpful as well.”

    Even though the primary role of Fernando’s helicopter is to transport media representatives, he once helped out after an accident in the race. One of the motorcyclists had an elbow fracture and Fernando flew him to the Dakar camp hospital.

    Asked if he could imagine switching seats with one of the competitors, he laughs: “I really enjoy being part of the world’s greatest rally, but I know my place and that’s as a helicopter pilot, ready to help out whenever needed – whether it’s passing on a water bottle or providing medical equipment. This is the most satisfactory part of Dakar for me.”

    Text by Beata Cece

    Photo © Fernando Perez - 2015

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    Helibras delivers first four modernized Fennec helicopters to Brazilian Army

    Helibras has delivered the first four upgraded Fennec helicopters to the Brazilian Army Aviation Command. These AS550 A2 and AS350 L1 aircraft are part of a modernization contract for 36 Fennec and Ecureuils belonging to the Brazilian Army.

     Helibras delivers first four modernized Fennec helicopters to the Brazilian Army

    The completed helicopters now have a new glass cockpit, 2-axis autopilot, new communication and navigation systems, a digital backup system, improved pilot seats for enhanced crash protection, and additional ballistic protection, among others upgrades.

    The work was performed at Helibras’ factory in Itajubá, Brazil, with some of the new equipment having been either produced or refurbished by local industry.

    When the modernization contract is completed, 33 aircraft will have been upgraded and three will have been completely reconstructed and upgraded.

     

    Photo © Felipe Christ – 2014

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