Airbus Helicopters has announced that an H145 aircraft has landed successfully on the Aconcagua mountain in the Andes, breaking a twin-engine altitude record in the process.
The aircraft took off from Mendoza, Argentina and flew 30 minutes to the foot of the Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere ,where it began its ascension. After 15 minutes of climbing, the helicopter landed at 1.45 pm on the summit, at a temperature of -22ºC.
“We had to stay focused on the mission due to severe winds with gusts up to 30 knots and the low air density,” said Alexander Neuhaus, experimental test pilot at Airbus Helicopters. “The aircraft performed outstandingly. We flew over the summit of the Aconcagua and still had power reserves that would have allowed us take two people on-board.”
Prior to the successful high altitude test campaign in South America, the new H145 performed several test campaigns including in Spain at medium altitudes and Finland for cold weather.
In total, more than 400 flight hours have already been clocked on the two five-bladed H145 prototypes to ensure EASA certification by early 2020, followed by FAA certification and first deliveries later that year.