Airbus H160 receives FAA approval


BY OLIVER JOHNSON with Vertical Magazine

The Airbus Helicopters H160 has finally received certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), paving the way for the medium-lift aircraft to begin operations in the United States.

PHI will become the first operator to fly the H160 in North America. Airbus Helicopters Photo

The type is now ready to begin a much-anticipated “route proving” program with PHI in the Gulf of Mexico — a U.S. entry-into-service planned since early 2021. The operator has an initial order for four of the type.

The FAA approval comes almost exactly three years after the type was certified the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Airbus had originally hoped FAA approval would follow soon afterwards, with the type slated for first delivery to a U.S. customer later in 2020.

However, the FAA opened up more certification topics than Airbus anticipated following EASA’s approval, and the OEM’s work in reopening those topics, discussing them, and closing them was heavily impacted by the Covid-enforced necessity to do that work remotely.

In a press release announcing the FAA certification, Airbus called it “a significant milestone” in the aircraft’s development.

Airbus chief test pilot Hervé Jammayrac talks about the manufacturer’s new medium-lift aircraft, the H160.

“We are pleased to receive FAA certification for the H160, which is testament to many years of hard work and commitment from our teams in order to deliver this multirole helicopter to the customers in North America who have already placed their trust in the H160,” said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters.

“This aircraft features the highest level of innovation and we are confident that its advanced capabilities, along with our strong customer support network, will solidify its position as the preferred choice for customers in the U.S.”

The type’s entry into service will eventually be aided by North America’s first H160 level D full flight simulator, which will be located at the Helisim Simulation Center inside Airbus Helicopters Inc.’s facility in Grand Prairie, Texas. Airbus expects the simulator to be in service in the “second half” of 2025.

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