Airbus Helicopters has performed the maiden sortie of the first serial H160, meeting a self-imposed deadline to fly the medium-twin before Christmas.

Conducted from the manufacturer's Marignane facility in the south of France – the location of the new final assembly line for the 6t-class helicopter – the milestone took place on 14 December, with a flight demonstration for employees occurring three days later.

The serially produced H160 features a special livery incorporating signatures from hundreds of Airbus Helicopters employees working on the programme.

Serial H160

Airbus Helicopters

European certification of the H160 is due in late 2019, ahead of delivery to launch customer Babcock in 2020.

So far, the three flight-test prototypes have accumulated over 1,000h in the air. The H160 is powered by twin Safran Helicopter Engines Arrano turboshafts.