H145 in high altitude testing
The H145 helicopter has carried out flight tests that saw it land on the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere, the Aconcagua, at 22,840ft, Airbus Helicopters announced on 25 September.
The aircraft took off from Mendoza, Argentina, flew 30 minutes to the foot of the Aconcagua where it began its ascension. After 15 minutes of climbing, the helicopter landed on the summit, at a temperature of -22ºC.
According to the company, the flight confirms the performance and flight envelope of the new H145. The new version of the H145 light twin-engine helicopter adds a new five-bladed rotor to the aircraft, increasing its useful load by 150kg.
The H145 has performed several test campaigns this year, including in Spain at medium altitudes and Finland for cold weather. In total, more than 400 flight hours have 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.
Alexander Neuhaus, experimental test pilot at Airbus Helicopters, said: ‘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.
‘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.’
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