Airbus H160 Project Makes Progress

Second prototype of the all-composite helicopter took its first flight this week powered by newly developed Turbomeca Arrano engines.

Airbus Helicopters reached a major milestone in the development of its all composite H160, which previously went under the codename X4, this week as the second prototype of the twin-engine helicopter took its first flight on Tuesday. This prototype is the first to fly with the 1,100 shp Turbomeca (Safran) Arrano engines.

This is the second of three planned flying prototypes that Airbus will use on its way to certification, which is targeted for 2018. The first prototype has accumulated more than 75 hours of flight testing.

The H160 is tailored to a variety of flight operations including oil and gas, emergency medical services, public service and private- and business aviation.

New technologies incorporated into the H160 include a large Fenestron encasing a double-canted tail rotor, a Biplane Stabilizer that aids with low-speed flight and hover characteristics, and Blue Edge main rotor blades, the tips of which are severely angled, which Airbus says help increase the payload and reduce the noise footprint by as much as 50 percent.

Performance targets for the H160 include a cruise speed of 160 knots and a maximum range of 450 nm for public service and SAR missions.

Watch the first flight of the second H160 prototype in the attached video.