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!

Jun 212013
 

X3_header

Eurocopter X3 broke a world speed record with 255 kt in level flight (@10,000 ft), 5 kt more than the Sikorsky X2.

For the second time in its existence, this very same fuselage was made famous: the first event happened 22 years ago, when the Dauphin DGV became a world fastest helicopter with 372 km/h.

 

2013, June 7th D-Day

 

Catch it if you can: teaser

 

Catch it if you can: Eurocopter people sharing their experience

 

When the X3 met the TGV, French high speed train

Apr 262013
 
X3 seen from behind, optimised for high speed

Should we call it X3e, like all the current new models at Eurocopter? Or X3i? Or X3+? Or X3²?

Yesterday, Eurocopter presented a new concept, a helicopter where the pilot is only an option. The EC145 c/n 9001 is the usual research aircraft of the company, known recently for the “Blue Pulse” program, intended to reduce the rotor noise.

EC145 OPV Istres, France, Eurocopter

EC145 OPV F-ZWAM, Istres, France, Eurocopter

However, not only the new drone was presented. A small surprise was displayed at the end of the movie. You thought the X3 was there only by chance? Of course not!

The Istres Air Base is the most suitable flight testing area in France. All previous test flights of X3 were made there and even the main runway was adapted to land the American space shuttles.

A closer look onto the prototype makes it clear: the rotor head and the top of the airframe have been modified.

X3 seen from behind, optimised for high speed

X3 seen from behind, optimised for high speed

 

X3 seen from behind, Paris Air Show 2011

X3 seen from behind, Paris Air Show 2011

Yes, the aircraft is being prepared for very high speeds. Eurocopter’s X3 is becoming a fierce competitor to Sikorsky’s X2. Mr Bertling is preparing to leave his seat as a CEO to Mr Faury next week and this challenge is indeed a great gift: the company displays its innovative skills.

X3 and EC145 OPV on ground -"the best is yet to come"

X3 and EC145 OPV on ground -“the best is yet to come”

Do you remember the DGV, Dauphin Grande Vitesse, which became once the fastest helicopter with 372 km/h in 1991? The aircraft never forgot its appetite for the records. In fact, some parts of the Dauphin DGV were removed and the helicopter was modified to build the X3.

Aerospatiale Dauphin DGV, speed record breaker in 1991

Aerospatiale Dauphin DGV, speed record breaker in 1991

Now, for the pleasure of your eyes, enjoy these pictures from the movie.

EC145 OPV during accuracy freight landing

EC145 OPV during accuracy freight landing

EC145 cockpit, Optionnally Piloted Vehicle

EC145 cockpit, Optionnally Piloted Vehicle

EC145 OPV during freight flight

EC145 OPV during freight flight

EC145 OPV and X3 in Istres

EC145 OPV and X3 in Istres