Airbus Helicopters intends to perform a maiden sortie of the second flight-test prototype of its H160 medium twin-engined rotorcraft in the coming days, having missed a self-imposed end-2015 deadline for the milestone.
The manufacturer says the minor slippage in the schedule was to ensure the helicopter can move straight into the certification test programme as soon as it has completed its initial flight. It was handed over to the airframer’s flight-test team on 18 December.
The initial test article – PT1 – has so far accumulated more than 75 flight hours since its June 2015 maiden sortie, says Airbus Helicopters, and has also undergone a 50h maintenance check.
Aircraft PT2 is the first to be fitted with the Turbomeca Arrano engines that will power production examples.
Due to a last-minute decision to sole-source the H160’s powerplants from Turbomeca, PT1 has begun the flight-test effort using Pratt & Whitney Canada PW210 turboshafts.