The Airbus H160 being taken on its first flight, at Le Bourget Airport outside of Paris (Credit: Airbus Helicopters)
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A couple of days ago, we heard how Airbus Helicopters had announced the concept phase of its planned X6 heavy-lift helicopter. That aircraft will borrow some features from the company's new H160 medium-lift model. Although the H160 was introduced at the Heli-Expo trade show back in March, its first flight took place on June 13th and was announced this week at the Paris Air Show.
The H160 is the most recent addition to Airbus' H generation of helicopters, and is reportedly both cleaner-running and quieter than its stablemates. It can be configured for applications such as offshore transportation, business and private aviation, public services, and commercial passenger transport.
Among its features is a lightweight full-composite airframe, which is said to contribute to the robustness of the aircraft while also requiring less maintenance. It also has a "new generation" Arrano turboshaft engine, which is reportedly more powerful than its predecessors while also being more fuel-efficient and producing 20 percent less CO2 emissions per passenger.
The aircraft's noise levels are lessened by up to 50 percent, both through the use of Airbus' swept-back Blue Edge rotor blades and a canted fenestron (a ducted fan-style tail rotor). The rotors and fenestron are also claimed to aid in stability, increasing passenger comfort. A biplane-type stabilizer on the tail additionally boosts performance and handling.
Finally, electrically-controlled landing gear allows the H160 to carry a heavier payload (exact figures aren't available) and lessens maintenance requirements.
Source: Airbus Helicopters