Airbus Helicopters and its Brazilian subsidiary Helibras are highlighting VIP/corporate transport offerings at the 2019 LABACE show, displaying a VIP-configured H125 alongside an ACH145 with the Line interior option. Also on show is an eight-seat cabin for the ACH145 in a Mercedes Benz-inspired style. The two companies have been working together since 2010, and the partnership was extended earlier this year.
The ACH145 is one of the key products in the lineup of Airbus Corporate Helicopters, an entity created in May 2017 to focus on the VIP/corporate product range in much the same way that Airbus Corporate Jets handles executive versions of the airliner portfolio. The ACH range includes the 125, 135, 145, 160, and 175 models, with first deliveries of the new ACH160 due towards the end of 2020.
Achieving solid sales in the marketplace, the ACH145 can be configured with four to eight seats in club-style seating. The spacious four-seat layout has center cabinets between the seats. A large sliding door is incorporated on either side, and there is a sizeable luggage hold. The helicopter’s avionics are based on the Helionix system, with four-axis autopilot and synthetic vision.
Early next year Airbus Helicopters expects to receive EASA certification for the D3 version, which introduces a five-blade bearingless main rotor that increases useful load, simplifies maintenance, and gives a smoother ride. The rotor blades can be folded, a feature that makes the ACH145D3 particularly suitable for yacht-based operations. Other improvements being made to the ACH145D3 will increase its airborne connectivity.
The first customer for the D3 is Advanced Flight in New Zealand. Other customers have also signed up to a D3 retrofit option that is applicable to earlier H145/ACH145 variants.