Air Corporate is already full of praise for its new ACH160, following the VIP-configured helicopter’s service entry earlier this year.

Delivered at the end of March, it is the first of five examples the Italian operator has on order from Airbus Corporate Helicopters, and the medium-twin is already racking up the hours at the hands of chief executive – and pilot – Paulo Serini.

Paulo Serini-c-BillyPix

Source: BillyPix

Paulo Serini (left) alongside head of Airbus Corporate Helicopters Frederic Lemos

“I have already flown around 60 flight hours and I’m very happy,” he says, highlighting the ACH160’s speed and comfort levels.

“It is a very light machine and for this reason we can carry six passengers, plus full cargo and full fuel and offer flights of about three hours and 30 minutes of endurance” – which equates to a range of about 420nm (777km), he says.

Airbus Corporate Helicopters celebrated the handover of the ACH160 at an EBACE event on 28 May. In addition to being Air Corporate’s initial example, the rotorcraft is the first anywhere with the Line Lounge interior – a club cabin concept actually designed by the customer.

“Normally we develop the cabin with them but initially this was my idea,” says Serini. “It was our main request – we said we would take five machines if they were exactly as we asked.”

The ACH160 is also offered with the higher-spec Exclusive cabin that features double-glazed windows, hinged doors and a retractable electric footstep.

However, that luxury comes at a price: Serini estimates that the Line Lounge version is around 600kg (1,320lb) lighter than the Exclusive package, increasing range by 80nm and speed by 10kt (18.5km/h).

Air Corporate expects to take delivery of its second ACH160 later this year, followed a single example in each of the next three years.

The Verona-based operator last year ordered 43 aircraft from Airbus Corporate Helicopters – a mixture of ACH125 and ACHH130 light-singles, plus three ACH160s – and added a two-unit ACH145 commitment today.