Airbus Helicopters has kicked-off the flight test campaign of the public services variant of the H175 medium twin-engine helicopter. An initial flight-test campaign was successfully concluded last week after 12 flights. This included a demonstration carried out last week with customer Hong Kong’s Government Flying Service (GFS), who became launch customer for this new variant in September 2015 with an order for seven units.
Flight-test activity of the public services variant will resume in December, with two additional aircraft to support the certification process ahead of a planned entry into service in late 2017.
One of the benefits of the public services variant is what Airbus Helicopters calls its inherent swing-role capabilities, enabling speedy and seamless re-configuration based on mission requirements. Missions include SAR operations, emergency medical services, firefighting, law enforcement and land/maritime border security patrols.
GFS’s H175s will have a built-in electro-optical system for observation and tracking, along with an enhanced digital map display, both managed from an operator’s console in the cabin. Other mission equipment include dual hoists, loudspeakers and a steerable searchlight. The autopilot will incorporate additional advanced modes to further decrease pilot workload during complicated SAR operations.
Airbus Helicopters has also certified the Automatic Pilot SAR modes for the H175 Oil & Gas configuration, enabling O&G customers to also perform certain SAR missions.