Airbus Helicopters is forecasting a need for up to 1,000 helicopters over the next 20 years to support the global wind farm industry, with corresponding revenue of up to $10.6 billion, the company said today at the WindEnergy Expo in Hamburg, Germany.
“Helicopters are an integral part of any logistics concept for offshore wind farms,” said Dennis Bernitz, head of Western Europe sales for Airbus Helicopters. To that end, Airbus Helicopters has developed a logistics calculator for wind farm operators that takes into account all relevant factors—weather, location, and the number of turbines in the wind farm—to determine the most economical and environmentally friendly logistics solution, which includes options on the mix of transport and special-purpose vessels.
The company noted that wind farm electricity output is increasing and that wind farms are being built farther from shore. A helicopter can cover 40 nm in 20 minutes, meaning it can reach the site and return to shore faster than a transport vessel and eliminates the potential for technician errors exacerbated by seasickness.
In other news at the company, Airbus Corporate Helicopters' (ACH) new ACH135 Helionix light twin will make its public debut this week at the Monaco Yacht Show. Fitted with the company’s in-house ACH Line interior configuration, the updated ACH135 Helionix provides features including an auto hover "pause" button and a "go-around" button (the aircraft will automatically fly around and reposition itself on the best landing approach at the push of a button) and automated engine management.
“With approximately 300 helicopter-capable yachts worldwide, there are increasing requirements for more reliable, compact, and versatile helicopters capable of transporting passengers and cargo in all environment,” said Frederic Lemos, head of Airbus Corporate Helicopters. Lemos noted that the company’s ACH145, ACH160, and ACH175 models are already Helionix-equipped.