Airbus Helicopters completed an initial flight-test campaign of the search and rescue variant of its H175 super-medium-class rotorcraft.

Consisting of 12 flights, the effort concluded in early October and included demonstrations for Hong Kong’s Government Flying Service (GFS), the launch customer for the variant with an order for seven units.

H175 SAR

Anthony Pecchi/Airbus Helicopters

Flight-test activity will resume in December, with two additional aircraft to support the approval process.

Certification and service entry are scheduled for late 2017.

SAR H175 again

Anthony Pecchi/Airbus Helicopters

Although the GFS aircraft will be configured for SAR missions with equipment including dual hoists and searchlight, the helicopters are able to be quickly switched for other public services missions.

Airbus Helicopters has previously certificated automatic pilot SAR modes for the H175 in the oil and gas configuration enabling a certain level of search and rescue capability.