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 -22ºC.
helicopter were Alexander Neuhaus, experimental test pilot,
and Antoine van Gent, experimental flight test engineer.
“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
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.