The H160 opens a new chapter in the history of Airbus Helicopters. This innovative medium helicopter becomes the first new member of the H generation. The entire design was based on one overriding goal: to create added value for customers in terms of performance, economic competitiveness, safety and comfort. Both cleaner and quieter, the H160 takes a step forward in respect for the environment. Configurations being developed include offshore transportation, business and private aviation, public services, and commercial passenger transport. The H160 was unveiled at the Heli-Expo trade show in March 2015. Peugeot Design Lab drew up the initial plans for the helicopter’s loft lines design, which were then adapted, developed and finalised by the in-house design team at Airbus Helicopters.
The H160 combines technologies from 68 formers Airbus helicopters.
The H160 VIP interior comes upholstered in rich leather with wood and metal accents and can be customized to the buyer’s specifications.
The H160 features two new fuel-efficient Turbomeca Arrano turboshaft engines that create upwards of 1,300 shaft horsepower and Airbus’ high tech new Blue Edge blades, which feature a hockey stick-shaped leading edge at the outer tip designed to reduce the noise generated by blade-vortex interaction.
The H160 is fuel-efficient and needs 20% less fuel than others thanks to its Turbomeca Arano engines and its height and weight are also revolutionary, being thin enough to enter any heliport and is weight has been reduced and now represents only 5.5 tons, while remaining corrosion resistant and needing less maintenance than previous helicopters.
Each H160 is also equipped with the biggest tail rotor ever created that reduces noises and vibrations, while keeping its aerodynamic properties. A biplane stabiliser has been installed on each prototype for more maneuverability and stability.
The H160’s fenestron is canted at 12 deg. to the right to provide additional lift capability, equivalent to 40 kg (90 lb.) of payload. Airbus engineers also used a spheriflex rotorhead over the larger, Starflex system which produces more drag. The H160’s rotorhead is produced from thermoplastics and is covered with a fairing to reduce drag further.
Key to the weight savings are extensive use of new materials and technologies—Airbus has taken out 68 patents on the H160 alone. The use of composites is featured widely in the aircraft, with a carbon-fiber airframe produced in-house at facilities in Germany, while the tailboom and tailrotor housing are built by Daher-Socata.
Airbus has opted for electrical landing gear actuation and braking systems—the first of their kind on a helicopter.
Meanwhile, thermal effects caused by friction between components have been countered by lowering the velocity using reduction gearing that limits the potential for cracks and fatigue. To prove the concept, the engineers built a gearbox and then 3-D-printed a transparent gearbox case. They then ran the gearbox to see how the oil would be distributed.