Airbus' new five-bladed H145 flies in the French Pyrenees Mountains. (Airbus Helicopters)
North Carolina air medical operator Dare County MedFlight will be the first North American customer to retrofit its Airbus H145 to the new five-bladed version, unveiled earlier this week at Heli Expo. The new configuration of the twin-engine helicopter increases its useful load by 150 kg with no loss in performance and a slight reduction in weight, according to Airbus.
“We are excited about the opportunity to include this new product enhancement in our aircraft, where increased performance and a smoother ride for patient and care providers are critical components to our mission success,” said Chad Jones, director of operations and chief pilot at Dare County MedFlight. “We were the launch customer in North America for the H145 in 2012 and are pleased to have the opportunity to incorporate this latest innovation.”
The five-bladed H145 also offers a simpler, bearingless main rotor design that eases maintenance operations, according to Airbus, with a reduced rotor diameter and integration of a wireless airborn communication system for real-time data transmission.
Dare County’s aircraft will be equipped with the 5-bladed rotor system following certification, planned for early 2020.
In addition, Chicago-based David MacNeil, founder and CEO of WeatherTech and Pet Comfort, will be the first private customer in North America to choose the five-bladed H145.
“As an avid aviation enthusiast, I am always looking to stay up to date with the latest innovations, and I’m very happy that Airbus offers me the possibility to include such technologies on my current fleet,” said MacNeil.