Sande/Wilhelmshafen – The twin-engine multipurpose helicopter H145 has successfully proved its operational capabilities for challenging offshore missions. During a two-day flight trial in late January the established offshore operators Wiking Helikopter Service GmbH and HTM Offshore were able to test the H145 in all the relevant fields of offshore operations. Both aviation companies collaborate closely to offer their customers a wide range of offshore services involving light and heavy helicopters. This concept is very appreciated in the offshore-wind-branch.
“One of our main activities is the transfer of harbour pilots via helicopter in any kind of weather conditions 24/7,” explains Lars Hilgert, Chief flight coordinator at WIKING. “Harbour pilots navigate ships safely in and out of German harbours. In most cases these pilots are brought onto the moving ships using the winch. This process requires the utmost attention of the helicopter’s pilot and crew,” he added. “We are very positively surprised with the intuitive Helionix® cockpit of the H145 and its 4-axis autopilot with auto-hover function. These systems contribute to the helicopter’s high levels of safety in every scenario. At the same time the workload of the crew is reduced, allowing them to safely accomplish their mission even in the harshest of weathers,” Hilgert adds.
The rotorcraft is also well-suited for Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS). “Our rescue helicopters are constantly on stand-by for offshore HEMS. Every unit is staffed with a doctor and an assistant and ready to embark on a mission in a minimum amount of time. The H145 would qualify perfectly for these missions, given that it features tremendous levels of performance and a spacious cabin”, explains Alexander von Plato, Managing Director at WIKING Helicopter Service.
The flight test programme also included other missions such as approaching the wind park alpha ventus in the German Bight, landing on the transformer platform and hoisting technicians onto the offshore wind turbines. All while sustaining winds of up to 50 kts, the H145 delivered a convincing performance.
“HTM Offshore is specialised in the transfer of service personnel in the wind industry,” says Bernd Brucherseifer, Managing Director at HTM Offshore. “The technicians are increasingly used for scheduled and unscheduled maintenance missions on wind turbines, for instance if the turbine is not, or hardly accessible by ship due to rough waters. With wind parks emerging increasingly further away from the coastline we are reliant on a versatile but also efficient helicopter fleet. The H145 would be an ideal addition to our 11 Airbus Helicopters H135, as it can carry more passengers and travel for longer distances. Despite its spacious cabin the main rotor has a very small diameter, making it perfectly suited for approaching wind turbines.”
The H145 is the most advanced member of its family. The worldwide customer fleet has already accumulated more than 11,500 flying hours since the first delivery in July 2014 with an average availability of over 90 per cent. Today, some 53 helicopters are already serving in 14 nations in emergency medical services, law enforcement, military and VIP and cargo transport. The variant for the oil & gas sector was also ordered recently. With a maximum take-off weight of 3,700 kg, the H145 also allows a very efficient usage in the emerging offshore business, which will display a considerate growth over the coming years. Airbus Helicopters expects the market to develop a potential of up to 9bn € over the next two decades.
About WIKING Helikopter Service GmbH
WIKING Helikopter Service GmbH has been an offshore specialist in the North and Baltic Sea areas for over 40 years and operates eight helicopters Sikorsky S-76, AgustaWestland A109S grand and AW139. Originally founded to support the transfer of harbour pilots in the German Bight, WIKING is still one of the most important systems in this business, having flown more than 54,000 transfers without an accident. Furthermore, WIKING is largely involved in the supply of offshore institutions, mainly in the offshore wind industry. In the past year, more than 22,000 passengers were brought to platforms and construction ships. Since 2012, WIKING and ADAC operate a HEMS helicopter for the workers in the offshore wind industry at the JadeWeserAirport on 24 hours a day.
About HTM Helicopter Travel Munich GmbH
HTM Helicopter Travel Munich GmbH is one of the largest mixed fleeting AOC holders in Germany. HTM has its own EASA Part 145 maintenance facility and an Approved Training Organization, full approved for IFR, Offshore and Helicopter Hoist Operations. Founded in 1997 by Hans Ostler in Munich, HTM operates 21 helicopters and 4 business jets from eight bases and is about to expand further. HTM is offering a wide variety of services such as VIP Transport Helicopter and Fixed Wing, Offshore Operations, Helicopter Hoist Operations (On- and Offshore), External Load Operations, Movie Flights with own equipment pool, Transport of Dangerous Goods and Flight Training.
About Airbus Helicopters
Airbus Helicopters is a division of Airbus Group. The company provides the most efficient civil and military helicopter solutions to its customers who serve, protect, save lives and safely carry passengers in highly demanding environments. Flying more than 3 million flight hours per year, the company’s in-service fleet includes some 12,000 helicopters operated by more than 3,000 customers in 152 countries. Airbus Helicopters employs more than 23,000 people worldwide and in 2014 generated revenues of 6.5 billion Euros. In line with the company’s new identity, fully integrated into Airbus Group, Airbus Helicopters has renamed its product range replacing the former “EC” designation with an “H”.