The second prototype of Airbus Helicopters’ five-bladed H145 variant embarked on its first test flight, as it makes progress in achieving type certification early next year.

Airbus Helicopters says the maiden flight took place at its Donauwörth site in early August.

H145 test

Airbus Helicopters

Tests on the second prototype will involve autopilot testing, performance and airframe structural validation, says the rotorcraft maker.

The five-bladed H145’s first prototype is now undergoing high-altitude tests in South America, it adds.

The enhanced H145 first made its debut at this year’s HAI Heli-Expo. The five-blade main rotor replaces the current four-blade design, giving the H145 an additional 150kg of payload and bringing maximum take-off weight to 3,800kg.

FlightGlobal reported in March that Airbus Helicopters has secured several launch customers - including the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation and New Zealand's Advanced Flight - for the five-bladed variant.