PHI will operate four Airbus H160 intermediate twin helicopters for Shell in the Gulf of Mexico, marking the entry of the H160 into the oil and gas market. Airbus will initially provide one H160 to PHI and Shell for a year-long route-proving program and to mitigate normal challenges from entry into service.
The H160 will be domiciled at PHI’s Houma, Louisiana base. PHI currently operates a large fleet of Airbus H125 and H135 helicopters in its air medical division, as well as four H145s for pipeline survey and harbor pilot shuttles.
“Emissions reductions that the H160 provides help us continue to deliver crude and natural gas with the smallest carbon footprint of our global deepwater portfolio," said Shell general manager-supply chain deepwater Viet Van, "and are another important step to meeting our goal of zero net emissions by 2050.”
The H160 makes extensive use of carbon-fiber composites in the fuselage and main rotor blades that enhance the helicopter’s corrosion resistance, especially in maritime operations. Power comes from a pair of Safran Arrano engines. Its Helionix avionics system incorporates the world’s first ground helipad-assisted takeoff procedure, a vortex ring state pre-alerting system, and a recovery mode to automatically regain stabilized flight.