The H175 is a twin engine“super medium” helicopter.
The helicopter’s dominant role is offshore oil and gas transportation. A small number of H175s are deployed in other roles such as VIP, law enforcement and search and rescue.
The helicopter was designed to fill a perceived gap in the market between the “medium” or “intermediate” helicopters such as the AW139 and the “heavy” helicopters such as the S-92. The helicopter’s direct competitor is the Leonardo AW189.
History and Development
The development of the H175 began in the 2000s as partnership between Airbus and Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), a Chinese state-owned aviation conglomerate.
In 2008 the H175 was formally unveiled and orders (or order options) were announced from 13 customers, including Bristow, VIH, HAIG (an AVIC subsidiary) and Longken General Aviation Cooperation. The aircraft was marketed globally by Airbus, but with AVIC taking on responsibility for all Chinese marketing.
The H175 prototype first flew on 4 December 2009 in Marignane, France and EASA type certification was received in January 2014. An assembly line for the EC175 was established at Marignane.
In 2014, the H175 entered service with Belgian operator Noordzee Helikopters Vlaanderen (NHV) for offshore oil and gas operations over the North Sea. The H175 has subsequently entered service with Babcock, CHC, Heli-Holland, Omni and Pegaso (all in the oil and gas sector).
The collapse of oil and gas prices in 2015 had a major impact on the H175 order-book. For example, in 2015 UTAir in Russia put its order for 15 helicopters on hold and in 2020 Bristow cancelled its orders during its Chapter 11 process.
In September 2015 the Hong Kong Government Flying Service commenced operations with SAR-configured H175s and currently operates seven H175s. This is the only example of the H175 operating in the SAR role.
Airbus is working with operators on a “maturity plan” for the helicopter which seeks to identify areas for improvement based on operator experience. The Helionix software is subject to regular upgrades to improve reliability and situational awareness.
The Chinese variant of the H175 (the AC352) is powered with Safran HE Ardiden 3C engines. It is not clear if any AC352s have actually been produced. One such helicopter has been registered, but there has been no announcement of a customer delivery.
Design and Features
Airbus-built H175s are powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67E turboshaft engines (1,325 kW(1,775 shp) with Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC)-equipped.
The H175 has a “Spheriflex”main rotor and a three-blade tail rotor. The Spheriflex is not new technology, the same rotor head is used on the AS332 and H225.
The main gearbox incorporates two accessory gearboxes and is de-clutchable. This allows ground power to be provided without the rotors rotating which avoids the cost and weight of a separate auxiliary power unit. This is not possible on the AW189, which has a separate APU engine.
The gearbox of the H175 isa new design which is dissimilar to the design for the AS332 and H225.
The H175 was designed to satisfy EASA CS-29 crashworthiness requirements. It is capable of performing full Category A dual-pilot operation and has a Sea State 6 operating capability. The helicopter can be equipped with two oversized 18-passenger life rafts and an emergency flotation system.
Noise-reduction was a major feature of H175 design and attempts were made to reduce the helicopter’s noise signature as much as possible.
The EC175 is offered with multiple interior seating configurations. The helicopter can accommodate housing 18 passengers in a dense oil and gas transport configuration, 9-12 passengers in an executive layout, and 6-8 in a VIP configuration.
The Helionix avionics is similar to the system used for the H225 and includes a Flight Control System (AFCS) and 4-axis dual-duplex autopilot. There are four 6X8-inch multi-function LCD displays, plus an optional central mission display. All H175 cockpits are NVIS-compatible without the need for modifications. A sensor operator's console can be installed in the main cabin area. The aircraft can also be equipped with a chin-mounted electrical-optical sensor.
The H175 has a very good safety record with no major accidents recorded.
The H175 has an uncertain future.
Oil & Gas
60% of the H175 fleet is deployed in offshore oil and gas. This is the market we should focus on when considering the future of the H175.
This offshore oil and gas market is unlikely to experience further growth in number of required helicopters. Over a long-term period, the number of required helicopters is likely to actually decline. Therefore, for the H175 fleet to increase, it must displace existing helicopters while also competing against the AW189, H160 and potentially the Bell 525.
The future of the H175 hinges on whether operators will be willing to pay the extra capital cost of a new-design aircraft such as the H175 in preference to other options such as the S-92.
A recent contract award by Petrobras in Brazil saw four H175s deployed in the region for the first time with Omni as operator. This is a positive development for the H175 as it was competing directly with S-92s in this context.
The H175 has a limited deployment outside offshore oil and gas. This is likely to remain the case because the helicopter was specifically designed for the oil and gas market and is less suited to other roles due to its size and operating costs.
One H175 is working in general utility and a few have been sold as VIP /private aircraft. Thailand is using H175s in a police support role.
The H175 has the potential to perform well as a SAR helicopter. However, the only SAR-configured H175s and those operated for the government of Hong Kong. These helicopters are operating in a mixed role including police and maritime patrol activities.
The H175 is very likely to be offered by bidders on both the UK and Irish SAR contracts (both of which are being re-tendered over the next few years). However, even if the H175 becomes part of a UK or Irish SAR service, in terms of numbers this will represent still a small deployment.
The list price of a new H175 is US$17M. There have been very few trades of used H175s, so it is hard to speculate as to used values.
The rental price for a H175 is in the range of US$120K to US$150K per month.
- Inspections at 40 hrs/400 hrs and 800 hrs
- Basic inspection at 1600 hrs or 3 years
- Additional Inspections at (4yrs/6yrs/8yrs and 12yrs) and (3600hrs/4800hrs)
- Inspections at 800hrs and 1600 hrs.
- Overhaul interval at 5,000 hours.
Power by the hour products
Airbus Helicopters offers the HCare product for full airframe support.
The HCare support can be modified to cover a defined list of components.
Pratt & Whitney Canada offers the following engine support options:
- Silver Lite
- Gold Lite
The Airbus Helicopters home page for the H175:
The Airbus Helicopters brochure for the H175:
The Wikipedia page for the H175:
The Vertipedia page for the H175:
Spec sheet for the H175 by Babcock
EASA type certificate data sheet for the H175 (February 2020)
Aircraft cost calculator for the H175
H175 fleet reaches 100,000 flight hours (April 2021)
H175 gets stuck on platform’s helideck (April 2021)
An article on identifying a gearbox failure on CHC H175 in Aberdeen (April 2021)
Thai Aviation Industries (TAI) to provide after sales support for Thai military and government (February 2021)
H175 touted as Puma replacement for the UK (January 2021)
Omni becomes the first operator of the H175 in Brazil (September 2020)
Hong Kong GFS's H175 fleet reaches 5,000 flight hours (September 2020)
Failure of recently-overhauled main gear box during ground run (September 2020)
Brazilian Civil Aviation Agency operational evaluation report on the H175 (August 2020)
NHV’s H175 fleet exceeds 40,000 FHRS (July 2020)
An article on the H175 by Business Jet News (March 2020)
First ACH175 delivered for superyacht operations
Second ACH175 delivered for superyacht operations (February 2020)
Bristow cancels 22 H175 order (January 2020)
AAIB investigation for EC175B, G-EMEA (July 2019)
H175s Flight restrictions after ‘crack’ detected (June 2019)
Safety checks on H175 fleet after crack found (June 2019)
H175 is first helicopter to use digitised paper logcards (June 2019)
H175 full flight simulator upgraded (April 2019)
A look back on the H175 for offshore by NHV (2017)
History of the H175 by Helis.com
Parapublic H175 completes initial testing (October 2016)
Denmark becomes latest H175 customer (August 2016)
European Space Agency’s H175 on display at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport (June 2015)
H175 tours Brazilian Oil and gas industry (June2015)
Milestone to acquire 28 H175s (June 2015)
EMS Kit for the H175 by Air Ambulance Technology
H175 damper & pitch rod maintenance improvements (February2020)
H175 windows and windshields available at Rotorplace
Video of H175 in various missions
Video of H175 in VIP configuration by Aérocontact
Video of H175 in offshore configuration