Airbus Helicopters is preparing to fly its third H160 flight-test aircraft. Aircraft PT3 recently completed a successful lightning indirect effect test program and will undergo power-on testing in the next few days, a company spokesman told AIN. First flight of PT3 is scheduled by the end of the summer.
Aircraft PT1 and PT2 are flying and collectively have accumulated 450 flight hours through last week. Additionally, a dynamic integration testbed, DHC0, has logged another 200 hours of testing. The flight-test campaign for the medium-twin helicopter has thus far included cold weather and snow trials in Canada earlier this year and testing of components, including antennas and inlet barrier filters. Development and performance flights are continuing.
To date, the H160 has achieved maximum cruise speeds up to 155 knots and flights ranging more than 400 nm. Final range is expected to “significantly” best that number, the company said. A spokesman said a number of letters of intent already have been signed for the helicopter and that Airbus Helicopters plans to announce launch customers for the H160 by year-end. Certification is expected in 2018, with customer deliveries starting in 2019.