Helicopters have always be designed and built for a mission. Bell Helicopters made it their motto (“One Bell. On a Mission”). The reason is obvious: their cost to buy and maintain have always limited purchases for recreational use. However, new designs such as the Ehang 184 or the Volocopter start changing the market into a more affordable pricing.
The most important change, though, might be one of the least noticed these days: Airbus Helicopters is being rebranded and will be called Airbus, just Airbus. Airbus Helicopters, formerly Eurocopter, is famous and acknowledged as the first civilian helicopter manufacturer in the world, designing and manufacturing reliable aircraft. Why, then, take the risk of losing the benefit of the history?
With the gigantic new market of autonomous drones, the technologies are becoming mature for new aircraft.
Airbus is taking the path of new airborne vehicles with rotary wings, and helicopters as we know them will only be a small part of it. It is all a matter of definition: while a helicopter has one main rotor and a tail rotor, or several main rotors, the use of push propellers or tilt rotors draws the designs closer to the limits of the definition. Furthermore, the use of fixed pitch propellers, in order to produce lift instead of propulsive thrust, confuses the difference between airplanes and helicopters.
Super Frelon rotor head, variable pitch
DJI Phantom 2, fixed pitch rotors. Is it an airplane without wings and flying upward?
The diversity of missions that can be fulfilled by aircraft is overwhelming. Many companies around the entire world come with new ideas and answer problems that are not even existing yet: E-Volo, Zee.Aero, Joby Aviation, Ehang, Airbus Vahana, City Airbus…
All these new design will make the word “helicopter” obsolete. While the current “Sikorsky” configuration (main rotor and a tail rotor) will still be the best design for many missions, alternative solutions will emerge. Separable fuselage to load the cargo, modular engine pods, optionally piloted vehicles, variable number of engines, all these designs will only be limited by the imagination of engineers, for a safer, cleaner, and efficient future.
EC635 for the Iraqi Army is equipped with the Ingwe missile from the South African company Denel.
Ingwe is an anti-tank air-to-ground missile. Its guidance system works following the laser beam rider principle.
The missile automatically determines its own position in the laser beam and manoeuvres onto the line of sight. The missile follows the line of sight until the target is hit. The warhead ensures effective target neutralisation
July 07th, 2015. Airbus Helicopters presents its brand new prototype of a modified H135, featuring extremely low noise in flight. A reduction of no less than 10 EPNdB (perceived noise), corresponding to a reduction by 90 percent of the noise of a standard H135 helicopter. (More information on icao.int, wikipedia.org/EPNdB, or wikipedia.org/Loudness. To refresh your logarithmic knowledge on the dB, check this.)
The aircraft displays an unusual shape to those familiar with the product family: T-tail horizontal stabilizer, new rotor blades…Continue reading »
Airbus Helicopters, Bell Helicopters, Turkish Aerospace, Russian Helicopters… The 2015 edition of the Paris Air Show was far from being dedicated to the sole helicopters, but several manufacturers were there on the display.
Don’t get the wrong idea, Paris Air Show is mostly for planes
The French Army is proud of the NH90 TTH, used in operation in Africa and middle east.
Maiden flight of the Airbus Helicopters H160, copyright 2015 M. Moutoussamy
Stable, extremely easy, barely any vibrations, smooth like a flying carpet. The first words of the pilot after the landing are very optimistic and encouraging.
The model H160 by Airbus Helicopters, previously called prototype X4, made its maiden flight on Saturday 13th, June, at the main plant in Marignane, southern France. With 24°C and 5 kt of wind, the weather was rather nice.
With the introduction of many new technologies, everyone tries to hunt for the hints, and we will give it a try as well.
First, unusual control surfaces appeared, such as a rudder on the tail fin. The rudder can be seen on the photo in forward flight below:
H160 PT1 in forward flight, copyright T. Rostang for Airbus Helicopters, 2015
However, what appears to be a separate piece on the lower part of the horizontal stabilator is fixed (B. Fujarski in “4 Rotors”, issue of Summer 2015). We can assume that it allows to use more power for the main rotor in fast forward flight, while the anti-torque is ensured by the huge tail fin instead of the fenestron.
With 6 metric tons MTOW, the H160 is slightly heavier than the H155 (4,5 t) and completes the product range, closing the gap under the H175.
The helicopter is powered with 2 Arrano 1A, newly developped by the company Turbomeca. However, it seems that the gear box stays the same as for the H155. The rotor blades are, of course, brand new. They were introduced by Eurocopter with the programme “Blue Edge” during the year 2010.
These rotor blades were later observed on a modified H135 in Germany.
D-HEEX, H135 silent prototype (copyright Marc Ulm)
Another curious feature is located on the top of the tail, in front of the strobe light.
H160, sensor on the top of the tail fin, copyright Airbus Helicopters
Finally, the canted fenestron will provide better support for a correct weight and balance, compensating the heavy tail that might be pushing the center of gravity to the rear.
All pictures are extract from the movies, copyright Airbus Helicopters
Part 1: From Marignane to Greece and Crete
Marignane-Iraklion, EC225 Airbus Helicopters
They took off November 6th in the early morning, LFML (Marseille, France), good weather. Cruise ground speed: 166 kt, slightly more than 300 km/h.
In this part, you will enjoy views of the Mediterranean coast, how you prepare the mooring of the aircraft for the night, and what internal auxiliary fuel tanks look like.
When you buy a helicopter, you can generally have 3 possibilities to get it delivered:
by plane, usually an Antonov 124, which is quick and the helicopter arrives almost ready to fly, but expensive
by ship, much cheaper than by plane, but very long
by conveying, where the helicopter flies from the manufacturing plant in Marignane to the location of the customer
Part 2: From Crete to Oman
Landing in Riyadh, EC225 by night
After-flight inspection by night, EC225
Via Egypt and Saudi Arabia, you will discover the maritime arabian oil fields, how to park in a tight spot, and the importance of the last inspection of the aircraft at the end of the day.
Part 3: From Oman to India
When your aircraft spends the night alone without any surveillance, you want to make sure that nobody entered your aircraft.
With the weather radar in search mode, you will see not only the coast, but also ships and other obstacles.
Muscat to Ahmedabad
radar in search mode, EC225
Ahmedabad to Kolkata
EC225 after 7 hours flight
After the flight, you need to refuel, organize the electric power generator for the night, check in at the customs, find your hotel!
here comes the power generator – India is exotic! 😉
After delivery in September this year, the German rescue company ADAC proceeded with their first rescue winch operations training on the EC145 T2. The training took place in the Alps, southern Bavaria. Several teams enjoyed the large cabin suitable for 10 crew members with their full rescue gear. The aircraft is equipped with a folding rescue winch over the cabin side door.
All ADAC helicopters come with a yellow livery and the callsign “Christoph”. They are famous throughout all Germany, and air traffic controllers do their best to provide them with the fastest and safest flight routes.Continue reading »
Both designations EC145 T2 and BK117 D2 refer to the same aircraft.
Enhancements incorporated in the T2 version of the 4-metric-ton category EC145 include new Arriel 2E engines and the company’s signature Fenestron® shrouded tail rotor, along with upgraded main and new tail rotor gear boxes, and an advanced cockpit that uses Airbus Helicopter’s innovative Helionix digital avionics suite with 4-axis autopilot.