Jan 012017
 

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

Super Frelon rotor head, variable pitch

DJI Phantom 2

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.

Urban mobility seen by Airbus (C) Airbus

Urban mobility seen by Airbus (C) Airbus

Nov 112015
 
EC635-Ingwe

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

from http://www.deneldynamics.co.za/products/missiles/anti-armour-missiles/ingwe-

Jul 082015
 
Bluecopter, preparing the flight

Bluecopter_19

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.intwikipedia.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…

The blades are already known from the H160 and the Bluecopter Dauphin. They result from a research programs in cooperation with the french ONERA and the german DLR. The tail rotor blades are shaped as waves and result in a barely noticeable noise in flight. Only the Turbomeca Arrius 2B2 PLUS turbine is left with what seems to be a normal installation. Now, the noise emission of the engines feels very loud compared to the dramatic improvement of the blades!

During cruise flight, Airbus claims to shut off one engine, reducing the consumption and the carbon dioxyde emissions. Of course, safety measures may ensure rapid power-up in case of need, if not urgency.

With this display, Airbus Helicopters sets a new standard of low noise emissions for the helicopter industry.

Bluecopter between the green grass and the blue sky

Bluecopter between the green grass and the blue sky

The green and blue paint has obviously been inspired by the Bavarian country. While awaiting for the flight show, blue skies and green grass were present. With QNH 1013 and more than 30°C at 1300 ft terrain altitude, ISA+15°C was easily demonstrated.

The aircraft is actually not brand new. The structure is the first prototype (S001) of the EC135 T, which first flew in 1994. The fuselage can be noticed on this early photo.

die grüne Hexe, the green witch

die grüne Hexe, the green witch

Maybe you will have noticed the small drawing on the pilot door: what is this cartoon? The green witch, die grüne Hexe in German, was probably inspired by the callsign D-HEEX. Does it go further and compare to the Greenwich meridian? Does she want to set a new reference?

Looking carefully at the vertical tail fin, you will notice a rudder. Is it the same tail fin rudder as the H160?

Bluecopter, preparing the flight

Bluecopter, preparing the flight

The particular shape of the clam shell doors are designed to reduced drag

The particular shape of the clam shell doors, designed to reduced drag

the tip of a blade

the tip of a blade

Air intake of the Turbomeca Arrius 2B2 PLUS

Air intake of the Turbomeca Arrius 2B2 PLUS

The T-shaped tail of the Blucopter by Airbus Helicopters

The T-tail horizontal stabilizer of the Bluecopter, made by Airbus Helicopters

Bluecopter from behind the Fenestron

Bluecopter from behind the Fenestron

Preparing the show

Preparing the show

Bluecopter_4

Bluecopter_3

Preparing the flight

Preparing the flight

Bluecopter, preparing the flight

Bluecopter, preparing the flight

Enroute

Enroute

Bluecopter_20

Bluecopter fenestron

Bluecopter fenestron

Bluecopter_16

Bluecopter_19

Landing

Landing

Bavarian green sky and blue grass

Bavarian green sky and blue grass

Presentation video by Airbus Helicopters:

Jun 192015
 

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.

Paris Air Show: mostly planes

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.

NH90 TTH, French Army (ALAT)

NH90 TTH, French Army (ALAT)

NH90 TTH, French Army (ALAT)

NH90 TTH, French Army (ALAT)

Bell displayed their 429 WLG and 407 GX. Many thanks to Gabriel and his explanations about the piloting interface!

Bell 429 WLG

Bell 429 WLG

Bell 429 WLG

Bell 429 WLG

Bell 429 WLG (wheeled Landing Gear)

Bell 429 WLG (wheeled Landing Gear)

Bell 429 WLG

Bell 429 WLG

Bell 429 WLG, cockpit

Bell 429 WLG, cockpit

Bell 429 WLG, cockpit

Bell 429 WLG, cockpit

Bell 429 WLG (wheeled Landing Gear)

Bell 429 WLG (wheeled Landing Gear)

Bell 429 WLG, luggage compartment

Bell 429 WLG, luggage compartment

Bell 429 WLG, tail rotor

Bell 429 WLG, tail rotor

Bell 407 GX

Bell 407 GX

Bell 407 GX, VIP cabin

Bell 407 GX, VIP cabin

Bell 407 GX, cockpit and instruments panel

Bell 407 GX, cockpit and instruments panel

Bell 407 GX, upper panel

Bell 407 GX, upper panel

Bell 407 GX, cyclic

Bell 407 GX, cyclic

Bell 407 GX, collective

Bell 407 GX, collective

The US forces displayed a strong presence.

CH-47 F Chinook

CH-47 F Chinook

CH-47 F Chinook

CH-47 F Chinook

CH-47 F Chinook

CH-47 F Chinook

CH-47 F Chinook

CH-47 F Chinook

UH-72A Lakota

UH-72A Lakota

UH-72A Lakota

UH-72A Lakota

UH-72A Lakota

UH-72A Lakota

AH-64 D Apache, US Army

AH-64 D Apache, US Army

Airbus Group had a huge display, but no access. You could only watch from afar.

H145M mock-up

H145M mock-up

H135 from the French Gendarmerie

H135 from the French Gendarmerie

H160, mock-up

H160, mock-up

The X3 is for loan at the Air and Space Museum in Le Bourget.

Eurocopter X3

Eurocopter X3

Eurocopter X3

Eurocopter X3

Eurocopter X3

Eurocopter X3

Russian Helicopters could not bring any real helicopter.

Mil Mi-171 A2 mock-up

Mil Mi-171 A2 mock-up

Mi-28 NE mock-up

Mi-28 NE mock-up

Ka-32 A11BC mock-up

Ka-32 A11BC mock-up

Mi-26 T2 mock-up

Mi-26 T2 mock-up

Mi-26 T2 mock-up

Mi-26 T2 mock-up

Mi-26 T2 mock-up with a CAT bagger

Mi-26 T2 mock-up with a CAT bagger

Mi-26 T2 mock-up

Mi-26 T2 mock-up

Mi-35 M mock-up

Mi-35 M mock-up

 

Bo105... does it fly?

Bo105… does it fly?

Bo105... apparently not fit for flight

Bo105… apparently not fit for flight

The Turkish industry presents the Atak helicopter.

T-129 Atak, Turkish Aerospace

T-129 Atak, Turkish Aerospace

T-129 Atak, Turkish Aerospace

T-129 Atak, Turkish Aerospace

The French Navy with the Caiman, NH90 NFH.

NH90 NFH Caiman, French Marine

NH90 NFH Caiman, French Marine

NH90 NFH Caiman, French Marine

NH90 NFH Caiman, French Marine

NH90 NFH, French Navy

NH90 NFH, French Navy

MU90 torpedo for NH90 NFH, France

MU90 torpedo for NH90 NFH, France

HAD Tiger, French Army

HAD Tiger, French Army

HAD Tiger, French Army

HAD Tiger, French Army

Parrot displayed the eXom, used for close observation and inspection of buildings.

eXom drone with TV and IR cameras

eXom drone with TV and IR cameras

eXom drone with TV and IR cameras

eXom drone with TV and IR cameras

Ground control station for eXom drone with TV and IR cameras

Ground control station for eXom drone with TV and IR cameras

Parrot made their BeBop dance together 🙂

Parrot BeBop

Parrot BeBop

Parrot BeBop

Parrot BeBop

Jun 172015
 
Maiden flight of the Airbus Helicopters H160 (copyright Max Moutoussamy)
Maiden flight of the Airbus Helicopters H160 (copyright Max Moutoussamy)

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

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

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

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.

The video below displays the second test flight, where the speed of 130 kt was reached.

Let’s wait now for more flights and even greater speeds!

H160 PT1 in front of Aix-en-Provence and the Sainte Victoire mountain, copyright  T. Rostang for Airbus Helicopters

H160 PT1 in front of Aix-en-Provence and the Sainte Victoire mountain, copyright T. Rostang for Airbus Helicopters

H160 PT1 on parking, copyright Airbus Helicopters

H160 PT1 power on, copyright Airbus Helicopters

Apr 242015
 
Taking off for the long journey

End of 2013, Airbus Helicopters delivered a H225 (formerly EC225) to the Chinese company COHC. The following movies tell the adventure.

Temporarily designated F-WWOA, later B-7151, the french helicopter was conveyed to China by Jean-Charles (pilot), Gérard (pilot) and Marc (mechanic) via Greece, Oman and India.

Spoiler: the flight ends well. At 11:00 a.m. on November 20, an EC225 LP helicopter of China’s CITIC Offshore Helicopter Company (COHC), registration number B-7151, arrived at Shenzhen Nantou Helicopter Airport from Macau, which is the 3rd EC225 introduced by COHC this year.

All pictures are extract from the movies, copyright Airbus Helicopters

Part 1: From Marignane to Greece and Crete

Marignane-Iraklion-EC225-Airbus

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

Landing in Riyadh, EC225 by night

After-flight inspection by night, EC225

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

Muscat to Ahmedabad

radar in search mode, EC225

radar in search mode, EC225

Ahmedabad to Kolkata

Ahmedabad to Kolkata

EC225 after 7 hours flight

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 is the power generator - India is exotic! ;)

here comes the power generator – India is exotic! 😉

preparing for take-off in Kolkata

preparing for take-off in Kolkata

Next in Burma!

Dec 222014
 
EC145 T2 ADAC rescue helicopters in flight, in the cabin

November 2014 –

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.

EC145 T2 is a major evolution from the EC145. The EC145 belongs to the BK117 family. The other technical designation is BK117 D2.

Enhancements incorporated in the T2 version of the 4-metric-ton category EC145 include new dual-FADEC 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.

The first EC145 T2 was delivered to another German rescue company, DRF Luftrettung, in July 2014.

More photos are available on airbushelicopters.com

EC145 T2 ADAC loading rescue crew on the hill

EC145 T2 ADAC loading rescue crew on the hill

EC145 T2 rescue winch, seen from the hook

EC145 T2 rescue winch, seen from the hook

EC145 T2 ADAC loading rescue crew members (D-HYAC)

EC145 T2 ADAC loading rescue crew members (D-HYAC)

EC145 T2 ADAC rescue helicopters in flight, in the cabin

EC145 T2 ADAC rescue helicopters in flight, in the cabin

EC145 T2 ADAC loading rescue crew on the hill

EC145 T2 ADAC loading rescue crew on the hill

EC145 T2 ADAC loading rescue crew on the hill

EC145 T2 ADAC loading rescue crew on the hill

EC145 T2 delivery to ADAC (Germany)

EC145 T2 delivery to ADAC (Germany)

Apr 252014
 
EC145 T2 cockpit

Airbus Helicopters certified its EC145 T2 recently. The new aircraft is based on the famous EC145 aka BK117 C2.

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.

EC145 T2 cockpit

EC145 T2 cockpit with Helionix avionics system

EC145 T2 D-HADW during demo tour in Asia

EC145 T2 D-HADW during demo tour in Asia

More photos available at airbushelicopters.com