All Nippon Helicopter’s (ANH) H160 has performed its first flight test, a 95-minute flight at the Marseille Provence Airport. This successful maiden flight paves the way for the aircraft’s entry into service in Japan.
ANH deploys a helicopter fleet comprising six AS365s and five H135s for electronic news gathering for the TV stations across Japan. This H160 will replace one of its AS365s.
“We are delighted to see the successful inaugural flight of Japan’s very first H160, and we are looking forward to this next-generation helicopter playing an important role in our nationwide missions,” said Jun Yanagawa, President of ANH. “Since the introduction of the AS365 helicopter three decades ago, the requirements of the electronic news gathering market is constantly evolving and has significantly improved. This state-of-the-art helicopter H160 is a timely welcome for our operations.”
The H160 was granted its type certificate by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in July 2020, with the certification from the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) expected in early 2021. Upon delivery of the helicopter, specialised equipment installation and customisation will be performed at Airbus Helicopters’ Kobe facility, before its entry into service.
“We are honoured to have ANH as our H160 launch customer in Japan, as they renew their fleet. This successful first flight is particularly meaningful during this unprecedented time for the industry. We thank our customer and the teams involved for devoting maximum efforts into this achievement. We will continue to provide our utmost support and ensure a smooth delivery to ANH,” said Guillaume Leprince, Managing Director of Airbus Helicopters in Japan.
Japan’s electronic news gathering market is a mature market with 87 helicopters dedicated for such missions today. Close to 70% of these helicopters are manufactured by Airbus, with the H125, AS365, H135 and H155 platforms commonly used by the operators. With the imminent introduction of the H160, which is equipped with additional safety features from the Helionix’s accrued pilot assistance, this helicopter will bring added leverage to the operator.