Airbus’ lightweight single helicopters – the H125 and H130 – are highly cost-effective rotorcraft appreciated by pilots for their superior flight qualities, stability and agility, along with excellent reliability and low vibration levels.
Attributes of Airbus’ lightweight twin-engine H135 and H145 for aerial work include large cabins with flat floors, high-set main and tail rotors for facilitated access through their side and rear doors, along with highly capable avionics.
In the medium-weight category, the Dauphin family – equipped with Airbus’ Starflex or Spheriflex main rotor and Fenestron shrouded tail rotor – offers a combination of speed, high performance and low sound levels; while the new-generation H175 provides a major leap in mission capability, performance and cost efficiency. The H175’s Helionix® avionics suite reduces pilot workload, enhances situational awareness, improves flight envelope protection and provides system redundancy.
The Super Puma family – composed of the H215 and H225 – is the global reference for heavy-weight helicopters, delivering high useful loads, extended flight times, and excellent performance in high-and-hot operating conditions, with equipment that includes full glass cockpits and a very effective four-axis autopilot.
Airbus’ understanding of the aerial work markets, and its working relationship with operators around the world, enable the company to evolve its rotorcraft products and cooperate with suppliers in developing additional capabilities through the integration of mission-specific equipment.
Airbus products support missions to offshore wind farms, which are being located increasingly farther out to sea.
Products deployed include the H135, H145, Dauphin and Super Puma, which are used to transport construction, repair and inspection crews to water-bound wind turbines, and are available for emergency airlift as well as search and rescue. Airbus’ newest family member – the H175 – offers increased capacity for passengers, additional range and enhanced safety in even the most challenging conditions.
Compared to the use of surface vessels such as speedboats and ships, helicopters offer advantages such as speed and comfort – particularly when seas are rough.
Airbus offers a range of services for wind energy sector rotorcraft operations, including tailored training and support that benefit from the company’s long relationship with the offshore oil and gas sector.
Airbus’ light-, medium- and heavy-lift rotorcraft are used in support of electrical grids around the world.
The use of helicopters for surveillance and maintenance of electrical transmission grids provides multiple advantages, including the ability to visually inspect approximately 300 km of power lines daily, speedy detection and evaluation of failure or other problems, and the ability to reach difficult or inaccessible areas – all while minimizing the environmental impact.
AIRTELIS, a subsidiary of France’s Réseau de Transport d'Électricité (RTE), operates the H225 for maintenance and construction work on high-voltage power lines. This 11-tonne-category helicopter lifts loads of up to 4.75 tonnes for services such as maintenance and construction work on overhead power lines and airlift support for major infrastructure projects, as well as various types of emergency missions.
In Malaysia, the Aerial Power Lines subsidiary of Sarawak Cable Berhad flies the single-engine H125 and twin-engine H135 for electrical power line construction, maintenance and surveillance. APL will expand its fleet by introducing an H225 for heavy-lift operations as part of a strategic alignment with Airbus Helicopters and France’s RTE – upholding the operational and safety standards of both the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia airworthiness authorities.
Italian electrical transmission grid operator Terna uses two H125 helicopters in its surveillance and maintenance support for a national transmission grid encompassing more than 63,500 km. of high voltage lines, dispatching power and safely managing the balance between electrical demand and supply.
Harbor pilot delivery
Compared to boats, helicopters can transfer maritime pilots to vessels arriving at ports faster and more safely, with the pilot being set down directly on the deck – eliminating the need for freeboard climbing.
Airbus’ family of light- and medium-lift rotorcraft operate daily in the maritime environment, benefitting from their proven reliability, designed-in corrosion resistance, adaptable cabins and the use of customized onboard equipment.
The twin-engine AS365 Dauphin has become the reference in harbor pilot duties, beginning with its deployment by the Port of Le Havre in France. This helicopter’s high performance, reliability, rapidity and maneuverability make it the ideal aircraft for such missions – even when high winds and rough seas prevent the transportation of sea pilots by speedboat. The AS365 carries up to five harbor pilots.
Dunkirk's Grand Port Maritime and the Port of Bordeaux have used the twin-engine H135 for decades, relying on this helicopter’s performance, high availability rate and increased safety with Airbus Helicopters’ Fenestron® shrouded tail rotor. The H135 carries up to four maritime pilots.
The AS355 NP Ecureuil/TwinStar has enabled several ports to begin their airlift services with fast and highly efficient operations, with this twin-engine helicopter capable of delivering three harbor pilots.
When news happens, helicopters are on the scene in minutes to provide live coverage of everything from natural disasters to police pursuits. Airbus rotorcraft are the first choice of news organizations worldwide – from national networks to local television stations.
The Ecureuil/AStar family of lightweight helicopters is the international electronic newsgathering (ENG) workhorse, recognized for its low-vibration cabin environment, low external noise signature, and large cabin. The designed-in power margins enable this helicopter product line to be equipped with the full complement of newsgathering equipment, including gyro-stabilized cameras, downlink transmission systems, and radio communications. A large number of Ecureuil/AStar helicopters are used in the United States as one of the world’s largest ENG markets.
Japan is another country that relies on airborne newsgathering, with some 75 percent of the country’s ENG fleet composed of Airbus Helicopters-built rotorcraft. The company’s light and medium twin-engine helicopters, such as the AS365 Dauphin and H135, are especially popular for use in Japanese electronic newsgathering, equipped with high-definition cameras and the latest digital transmission systems, and benefitting from the helicopters’ speed, stability and range. A major operator is All Nippon Helicopter, which uses both the AS365 and H135 for newsgathering missions on behalf of Japanese national broadcaster NHK.
Hands-on training provides helicopter pilots of all skill levels with valuable experience in flying a rotorcraft and in familiarizing themselves with its systems.
The H125 is the mainstay of training courses in many countries, enabling trainees to fly sophisticated rotorcraft with the latest avionics and displays, while providing lower hourly operational costs.
From Germany and Australia, to Japan and the United States, the light twin-engine H135 and H145 are used as military training helicopters. Most recently, the United Kingdom chose both aircraft types for the country’s Military Flying Training System (MFTS), becoming the first country to receive the newly updated H135, featuring the proven avionics solution Helionix®.
This flight training is supplemented by Airbus’ global training center network, which provides resources that include ground-based full-flight simulators, system trainers and procedural training devices, along with classroom education.
Aerial work mission news