Airbus’ lightweight single-engine 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, all with outstanding performance in high and hot operating conditions.
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 Helionix® cockpit avionics suite and its 4-axis autopilot reduce pilot workload, enhance situational awareness, improve flight envelope protection and provide system redundancy. Helionix® is a family concept by Airbus fitted on the H135, H145, H160 and H175.
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 an effective 4-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.
Aerial crane and cargo sling
The helicopter is often the only tool able to perform extreme aerial work with heavy sling loads, and all Airbus helicopters have been designed to carry heavy-duty aerial cranes. High-performance cargo hooks along with different equipment options are available to monitor, facilitate and ensure safe sling load operations.
Cargo sling capacity on Airbus’ light single-engine helicopters ranges from 1,400 kg to 1,500 kg, from 1,200 kg to 1,600 kg on its light medium-twin engine helicopters, from 1,600 kg to 3,100 kg for its medium range, and from 4,000 kg to 5,400 kg on heavy aircraft.
Both aerial cranes and cargo slings offer a range of possibilities, making Airbus helicopters a significant asset for aerial operations.
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 construction, surveillance and maintenance of electrical transmission grids provides multiple advantages, including the ability to visually inspect approximately 300 km of power lines daily, rapid detection and evaluation of failure or other problems, and the ability to reach difficult or inaccessible areas – all while minimising 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, and an H225 for aerial work, emergency medical services, and passenger transport
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 customised onboard equipment.
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.
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 organisations worldwide – from national networks to local television stations.
The Ecureuil/AStar family of lightweight helicopters is the international electronic newsgathering (ENG) workhorse, recognised for its low-vibration and large cabin environment. The designed-in power margins enable this helicopter product line to be equipped with the full complement of newsgathering equipment, including gyro-stabilised 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 70% 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 familiarising 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.
This flight training is supplemented by Airbus’ global training centre network, which provides resources that include ground-based full-flight simulators, system trainers and procedural training devices, along with classroom education.