October 13, 2017 – Airbus Helicopters has announced today that the third H160 prototype with the callsign PT3 has performed its maiden flight at the company’s headquarters this afternoon. PT3, which is complemented with a cabin interior configuration which is similar to that of a serial aircraft will contribute to the H160 program’s certification activities and flight testing to help ensure the aircraft’s level of maturity ahead of its planned 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.
To date, the first two prototypes, PT1 and PT2 have clocked more than five-hundred hours since the model’s maiden flight in June 2015. During this time of testing, the flight envelope has already been fully tested and the domain has been opened. For the remaining of the developmental activity which will consist of testing such as hot weather operation, antennas, and any optional equipment that will be offered with the H160 will be completed using a combination of all three prototypes.
The H160’s final assembly line which is located at Airbus Helicopters’ Marignane manufacturing facility in France which employs approximately 9,000 employees is entering its final stages of preparation and will soon be ready for serial production. Airbus is also preparing the support side of the program as customer support operations are also in development as maintenance teams work to develop plans through the company’s “Operator Zero Campaign” utilizing the prototypes and test means to check and improve the maintenance plan. This will include preparing digital work cards, technical documentation, and tooling among other things ahead of the actual operations.
The first version of the H160 to enter service in 2019 will be the passenger transport airframe, intended for commercial air transport or Oil and Gas, followed by the emergency medical services (EMS) version.
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