In September 2019, an H145 set its skids down on its snowy top, the culmination of days of meticulous planning.
A few weeks earlier, Airbus teams were preparing to fly the prototype back to Germany from South America, where it had completed a high-altitude testing campaign over the summer. “The Aconcagua was an effort to demonstrate whether a twin-engine helicopter could handle these altitudes and envision its capacity to one day perform high-altitude rescues,” says Antoine Van-Gent, experimental flight test engineer.
Earlier tests had been performed on Illimani, in Bolivia, to see if the H145 was up to the challenge. “We knew performance-wise we could do it,” says Alexander Neuhaus, the H145’s experimental test pilot.