EC175 in Arizona for hot and high trials

EC175 in Arizona for hot and high trials 24 Jun, 14, Source: Airbus Helicopters

The EC175 set off last week by Antonov for a six-week campaign in the United States to test its flight performance in high and hot environments. Successful completion of the tests will enable Airbus Helicopters to expand the helicopter’s flight envelope in extremely high temperatures and at high altitudes.

“The heights and temperatures we will test are higher than those at which the helicopter is currently certified. Expanding the flight envelope will be a big advantage for our customers who perform missions in extremely demanding desert environments,” said Michel Oswald, flight test engineer at Airbus Helicopters.

Las Vegas, Nevada, whose soaring temperatures make it the second hottest city in the United States according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s National Climatic Data Center, will host the hot tests.

The thermal analyses aim to confirm that the EC175’s components function properly at 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) and do not exceed acceptable limits. The most disadvantageous flight cases are considered, such as long periods of hovering at maximum takeoff weight, or flying when the helicopter’s equipment has reached the outside temperature, a process known as “soakback”.

The altitude tests will take place in Leadville, Colorado. At an elevation of more than 3,000 meters (9,927 feet), the Leadville Lake County Airport is the highest airport in North America and the third highest in the world.

The altitude tests will increase the flight domain for flights performed at very high altitudes and hot temperatures. The results will help to establish the proper helicopter procedures at takeoff and landing under these conditions.

The tests will be performed by the same helicopter that performed cold tests in Canada last January.

The double campaign is being led by a team of 15 experts, including pilots, flight engineers, mechanics, technicians and analysts, who will study the recorded data.

The EC175 left Marignane by Antonov on June 19 and will return on August 1.

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