Transportation and logistics can be two highly challenging aspects of the oil industry, and relocating staff between the shore and offshore platforms by air can only be performed with the safest and most reliable aircraft on the market. The 7-tonne H175 designed by Airbus Helicopters is a new-generation medium-sized rotorcraft that complies with the most recent and strictest regulatory requirements. It was developed in cooperation with helicopter pilots and oil companies with the aim of creating a rotorcraft solution that could help save lives and carry passengers safely in harsh maritime environments. Thanks to its energy- absorbing landing gear, fully-redundant systems, and emergency floatation devices that have the capacity to inflate during flight or automatically at ditching, the H175 complies and exceeds the latest CS-29 standards. In order to further enhance its safety systems, Airbus Helicopters integrated Helionix, one of the most advanced avionics suite and autopilot systems around into the H175. Its functions include innovative automatic recovery modes in case of pilot disorientation, automatic collision avoidance, and easier final approach to avoid crashes at low altitude. The Helionix system allows the pilots to ensure flight precision and stability during flights even under the most extreme weather conditions. Another appealing feature of the H175 for the oil and gas industry is its high performance in search and rescue (SAR) operations. The helicopter’s automatic flight control system allows for advanced hovering precision and stability. This is a determining factor in safely conducting hoist operations when maneuvering near obstacles. For these type of missions, the rotorcraft can be reconfigured with a SAR operator’s console and an emergency cabin to provide medical care to injured personnel.
In terms of economic performance, the H175 offers good payload capacity for short and long-range flights, and is powered by the latest PT6 engine from Pratt & Whitney. With a 16 passenger configuration, the H175 has a 260km range, which can be extended to 370km without the need of auxiliary fuel tanks if it carries under 75% of its passenger capacity. In fact, this airborne vehicle has 30% more capacity in tank storage than other aircraft in its class. One of the most impressive capabilities of the H175 is its versatility for different flight missions. The helicopter can be reconfigured for almost any application such as long endurance flights of over six hours, rescue operations, or even fast cruising at speeds up to 160 knots. The integration of these technologies has resulted in great benefits for oil companies, as excellent payload capacity and high flight speeds combine for stellar cost-effectiveness. In order to achieve the utmost efficiency and lower operating costs, Airbus Helicopters has also managed to optimize the scheduled maintenance planning for the H175 by gathering feedback from operators. This allows maintenance crews to improve visual inspections, gear lubrication, and operational or functional revisions. Furthermore, the H175 incorporates an advanced anomaly detection system that helps to detect even the smallest malfunction. All the maintenance devices included in the H175 contribute to achieving higher aircraft availability and improvements in safety as well as operational procedures. Airbus Helicopters has crafted a versatile transportation vehicle for the oil industry, not only due to its enhanced flight safety but also because of its mission adaptability, and simplified maintenance.