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Airbus Helicopters H160 Review

Dal Kikin
October 17, 2018

Airbus Helicopters announced the model of the new medium-duty helicopter with two turbine engines in 2015. The newest H160 is designed to come to replace the twin-engine helicopters AS365 and H155.

The H160 helicopter embodies a variety of new technologies, including Blue Edge rotor blades and horizontal stabilizer of the biplane circuit that reduces noise and improves smoothness of flight, new Safran Arrano engines that save fuel by 10–15%, and Helionix avionics with four large touch screens whose architecture is already used on other twin-engine Airbus Helicopters, including the H135, H145 and H175.

In order to optimize costs, Airbus decided to abandon the expensive electric flight control system and not include the anti-icing protection of the main rotor blades in the basic configuration. Nevertheless, there are many other pleasant technological innovations that are included in the standard package. The blades of Blue Edge have tips with a bend similar to a hockey stick. When the blades rotate at the ends, a vortex flow is created. Bending the tips reduces the turbulence, reducing the acoustic signature of the helicopter by as much as 5 dB. Arrano engines (1300 hp) are equipped with a two-stage centrifugal compressor and adjustable guide vanes at the inlet, reducing fuel consumption at all stages of flight, in particular, in cruising mode. They contribute to accelerating the H160 to a maximum cruising speed of 160 knots and achieving a practical ceiling of 20,000 feet, with a range of 450 nautical miles.

Airbus Helicopters claims that the Arrano can boast lower operating costs than other engines in this class. Helionix Avionics reduces workload by providing pilots with the necessary information in a timely manner. The system is connected to a four-axis autopilot and an indicator of the restriction of flight modes, which reflects all the parameters of the engine. Other advanced features include recommendations for the route and weather conditions, a ground obstruction system, and a synthetic vision system. 

The H160 helicopter is also equipped with an inclined tail rotor fenestron, which further reduces its acoustic signature. The oblique fenestron and horizontal stabilizer of the biplane design on the tail part improve take-off characteristics. Chassis and electric brakes instead of traditional hydraulic systems reduce the weight of the helicopter and increase its reliability. The on-board monitoring and diagnostics system monitors key maintenance parameters and can send them through data transmission channels to technical specialists on the ground.

Airbus Helicopters presents its new helicopter at this year’s Helitech International exhibition, taking place Oct. 16 to 18 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Showgoers will be able to take a close look at a full scale mock-up of the H160 fitted in an EMS configuration.