26-Apr-2017 Source: Airbus Helicopters
Airbus has extended the flight envelope of the H145 by enhancing the helicopter’s OEI power. The acronym OEI stands for “One-engine-inoperative”, measuring the performance of an aircraft with only one engine remaining operative. With the increased power, the light-twin helicopter H145 can accommodate two additional technicians or can fly longer distances during a mission which requires human external cargo (HEC) operations.
The OEI performance is especially important for HEC missions, thus supporting the H145’s leading position in the offshore wind energy market. HEC is the ability to safely carry human beings on a winch in the air, for example the transfer of technicians to offshore platforms. An increase in OEI power gives the operators more leeway for hoisting operations, which are strictly regulated in terms of engine power and weight parameters. The light-twin helicopter H145 now offers roughly nine percent increased hover performance capability in OEI mode within the two minutes power band, allowing 40 percent more useful load for the operator.
This improvement has been implemented in alignment with helicopter operators and the offshore and energy industry. The H145 offers the highest performance parameters in all HEC categories in its class.
The upgrade was certified by the European Airworthiness Safety Agency (EASA) in March 2017. The H145’s enhanced power and load capabilities will in particular bring benefit to commercial winch operators for missions such as hoisting to offshore wind turbine generators, sea / harbour pilot transfer or powerline maintenance. The new certification allows safe OEI-performance for 2.5min, as the higher 30sec OEI-power is taken into account within an emergency situation.
Wiking Helikopter Service GmbH, who just won the Sea Pilot Contract for the German North Sea for the next 3 years is the first offshore operator to perform operations with the increased engine performance after the engine upgrade by Safran. “The additional power reserves of the H145 contribute even more to safety and efficiency of our daily operations over the North Sea in all weather conditions” said Alexander von Plato, Managing Director of Wiking Helikopter Service.
The H145 in offshore configuration is equipped with a Hoist certified for HEC, an emergency floatation system certified for Sea State 6, a helicopter emergency egress lighting system, a weather radar and an automatic deployable emergency locator transmitter. In its offshore seating configuration the H145 can transport up to eight passengers. The combination of compact external dimensions, a comparatively small rotor diameter and the largest interior in its class make the H145 highly suitable for offshore operations.
With a share of approximately 60 percent, Airbus Helicopters is market leader in the wind/offshore helicopter segment, building on its more than 40 years of experience in supplying helicopters for offshore missions such as transport to oil & gas platforms, search and rescue or sea pilot transport. In the medium term, Airbus estimates the global demand in this segment to grow to more than 1,000 aircraft, and expects a market share of more than 50 percent.