Airbus Helicopters’ new, foldable five-blade H145D3 twin has received a nod from EASA. FAA approval is expected by year-end and a military variant is anticipated to win certification in 2021. Customer deliveries will begin later this summer.
The European certification covers single-pilot IFR operations (SPIFR), single-engine Cat. A/VTOL, and night vision capability. Airbus Helicopters CEO Bruno Even called the helicopter “an excellent example of our quest for continuous improvement and providing incremental innovation that responds to our customers' requirements."
Announced in 2019, the D3 features the new bearingless main rotor design that provides a smoother ride, requires less maintenance, and increases useful load by 330 pounds. Compared to the four-bladed H145D2, it has a slightly smaller main rotor disk, from 36 feet to 35.4 feet.
The D3’s twin Safran Arriel 2E engines now incorporate Fadec and its digital Helionix avionics suite incorporates a four-axis autopilot and an integrated wireless airborne communications system (wACS) that provides Wi-Fi to the cockpit, imports navigation and mission databases from tablets, establishes automatic connections via Wi-Fi or cell, automatically exports data from previous flights, generates flight reports, launches automatic downloads, and exports a previous flight’s data. Existing D2 operators will be able to upgrade to the D3 configuration via an upgrade kit.