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Thu, 26 Sep 2019

Airbus H145 Lands on Highest Mountain in Southern Hemisphere

The latest version of the Airbus H145 helicopter has set its skids down on the Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere, culminating at 6,962 metres (22,840 feet).

Despite the extreme conditions, the aircraft took off from Mendoza, Argentina and flew 30 minutes to the foot of the Aconcagua where it began its ascension. After 15 minutes of climbing, the helicopter landed at 13:45 on the summit, at a temperature of -22C.

Onboard the helicopter were Alexander Neuhaus, experimental test pilot, and Antoine van Gent, experimental flight test engineer.

Airbus H145 Lands on Highest Mountain in Southern Hemisphere. Click to enlarge.

We had to stay focused on the mission due to severe winds with gusts up to 30 knots and the low air density. The handling qualities of the new H145 are excellent and combined with Helionix and its 4 axis-autopilot, we reached the summit safely, said Alexander Neuhaus, experimental test pilot at Airbus Helicopters. The aircraft performed outstandingly. We flew over the summit of the Aconcagua and still had power reserves that would have allowed us take two people on-board.

Prior to the successful high altitude test campaign in South America, the new H145 performed several test campaigns including in Spain at medium altitudes and Finland for cold weather.

In total, more than 400 flight hours have already been clocked on the two five-bladed H145 prototypes to ensure EASA certification by early 2020, followed by FAA certification and first deliveries later that year.

This is not the first mountain Airbus Helicopters has mastered. On 14 May 2005, the flight test pilot Didier Delsalle landed a single-engine H125 on Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world.

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