Airbus Helicopters has completed
its certification programme of cold-weather testing of its latest
H160 helicopter in northern Finland.
Airbus deployed the first serial aircraft
to Rovaniemi in Lapland in February where the test team benefited
from a period of exceptionally low temperatures down to -37°C
The main objective of this second campaign was to confirm
the behaviour of the H160 in extremely cold conditions
with its serial configuration after the first test campaign in Canada
was performed with a prototype aircraft.
Operations took place from the base of Babcock
Scandinavian Air Ambulance, which flies Airbus H145 helicopters for emergency medical services (EMS) customers in the region,
including Finland’s FinnHEMS and the Regional Government of Åland
also in Finland.
The campaign included over 20 hours of flight
tests as well as a lengthy series of ground tests and a 13-hour
ferry flight from Airbus Helicopters’ Marignane base to the test
Babcock is the global launch customer for the H160 and
will be the first operator to receive the new model. Its new fleet of H160s is destined for EMS and other critical service missions
starting in Europe and to be deployed progressively across
Babcock’s bases worldwide.
The H160 is an ideal aircraft for
EMS operations with its wide-opening sliding door, roll-on
stretcher capability and 360-degree access to the patient. It
features exceptionally low sound levels in the cabin as well as
low vibration levels, providing a beneficial environment for
high-intensity care of patients over long distances.
Helicopters Head of H160 Program, Bernard Fujarski said, “This was
a highly productive test programme. The colder the temperatures in
which we can successfully fly and operate, the colder the
temperatures in which our customers can carry out their work. We
have been very happy with the freezing conditions in Lapland and
overall with the behaviour of H160.”