The H225 is a twin-engine “heavy” helicopter.
The H225 is the latest version of the Super Puma. Originally designated the EC225LP in 2015. The LP stands for “Long Plus” indicating the aircraft was a longer version of the AS332L. It was renamed and became known as the H225.
The H225’s original role was offshore oil and gas passenger support and SAR. After a fatal crash in 2016 the H225 was abruptly removed from the offshore role, although it continued in SAR. In the last few years, the H225 has been successfully repurposed as a utility helicopter. The H225 also has a small VIP role.
Military versions of the H225 are designated the H225M. The military versions are outside the scope of this Asset Summary.
History and Development
The H225 is the latest model in the Super Puma Family following on from the AS332L/L1 and L2.
The H225 was first certified in 2004 and incorporated new features including a five bladed sheriflex main rotor head; more powerful Safran Makila 2A engines with dual FADEC; a new main gearbox and an integrated cockpit flight display system.
Over time the H225 has been upgraded with the latest digital cockpit systems including the Airbus Helionix avionics. The upgrades include Dual FMS/GPS, TCAS II, Rig &Fly AFCS, ADS-Bout, digital ICS system on the offshore aircraft and on the SAR aircraft dual electric Hoists, Trakka searchlights and NVG compatible lighting in the cockpit.
Between 2004 and 2016 the H225 was predominately deployed in the offshore oil and gas support role and in SAR operations.
In 2016 a fatal accident in Norway involving an H225 was a major event for the aircraft type. The cause of the accident was linked to the failure main gearbox epicyclic module.
Following the accident, the H225 was issued a grounding notice by many aviation authorities resulting in a mass retirement of H225s from active service. The situation was so extreme that appraisers stopped providing estimated market values for the helicopter type from 2016 to 2018 due to lack of reliable data and a high degree of uncertainty regarding future values.
Since 2018 the H225 has been finding new opportunities in the utility and SAR markets resulting in almost half the grounded fleet of 2016 returning to service.
Major transactions to note on the H225 include the following:
In 2018 Airbus entered into a deal with the interior ministry of Ukraine to provide 21 repurposed H225s for public service duty roles.
- In 2018 Airbus entered into a deal with the interior ministry of Ukraine to provide 21 repurposed H225s for public service duty roles.
- In 2020 Bristow reported the sale of 10 H225s.
- In 2021 Milestone announced the lease of 11 H225s to Air Centre Helicopters.
The H225 has had a series of high-profile accidents but for each of them (apart from the two 2012 incidents) the underlying cause has been different. These major incidents are summarised below:
In 2009 a H225 ditched into the sea due to pilot error.
In 2012 there were two separate incidents of H225s ditching into the sea after the pilots received an indication that the main rotor gearbox had lost lubrication from the main and standby systems. In both cases, the main lubrication system had failed due to a manufacturing defect on the bevel gear vertical shaft, but the emergency lubrication system was working correctly. The decision to ditch was made because of the cockpit instruments falsely indicating to the pilots that the emergency lubrication system had also failed.
As a result of the 2012 incidents EASA AD was issued along with several ASB’s from the OEM to add in additional maintenance requirements and install cockpit warning lights to indicate a potential failure of the bevel gear based on information processed from the vibration monitoring system.
In 2016 a fatal accident involving an H225 occurred off the coast of Norway. The reason for the accident has been identified as the failure of a gear in the second stage of the main gearbox epicyclic module leading to an inflight break up of the main gearbox. Following an extensive investigation into the accident several modifications and maintenance requirements were introduced to allow the aircraft to return to service.
In October 2019 a H225 operating in South Korea suffered a fatal crash into the sea near the islets of Dokdo. The cause of this crash has not yet been determined.
The H225 future is in utility and SAR markets. It is very unlikely that the H225 would return to a role in offshore transportation. Even if extensive flying of the helicopter demonstrated that the 2016 issue had been fully resolved, it would be politically impossible to convince the trade unions that the type should re-enter service.
The production facility in Marseille, France is still producing H225s, but the vast majority of new production is for military customers.
Since 2018 the H225 has been finding new opportunities in the Utility market. The helicopter has an impressive external load lifting capability of up to 4.8t making it quite suitable for utility work. Due to a vastly reduced acquisition cost the H255 started to find new work in the utility market pushing out older types like the SA330 and the S-61.
The SAR market segment is still a source of opportunities for the H225 where it is well suited to long range search and rescue in hostile climates.
The H225 whilst historically had a large share of the oil and gas support market, now only has a very small footprint in this market.
After the grounding of the fleet in 2016 the value of the H225 has seen a reset which makes it more attractive to the utility market. It remains to be seen whether the utility demand can soak up all remaining H225s.
Costs and Values
The rental price for a H225 is in the range of US$80K to US$105K per month.
The capital value for a H225 has experienced a major reset after the 2016 crash. In our view, H225 values are in the range of US$6m to US$9m with lower prices for non-airworthy aircraft and significantly higher prices for serviceable SAR-configured helicopters.
The primary maintenance events on the H225 are as follows:
- 100 hrs
- 1200 hrs or 3 years
- Additional flying Hrs inspections at 2400 hrs/ 3600 hrs/ 4800 hrs and 9600 Hrs
- 12-month inspection at 12 months
- Additional Calendar Inspections at 6yrs/ 8yrs and 16 years
Engine inspections are at 800hrs and 1200 hrs.
The engine overhaul interval is 4,000 hours.
Power by the hour products
Airbus Helicopters offers the HCare product for full airframe support.
The H Care support can be modified to cover a defined list of components.
Safran offer the following products:
- SBH Classic
- SBH 5 Star
The Airbus Helicopters home page for the H225:
The Wikipedia page for the H225:
A summary of the various variants of the H225 by Skybrary:
A summary of maintenance options offered by Heli-One for the H225:
A summary of the Super Puma family tree by Aero News TV:
A general article on the H225 by Skycore Aviation:
A Helicopter Investor article regarding the comeback for the H225 (July 2020):
An AIN Online article about the H225 fatal crash in Korea (November 2019):
An Eviant article on H225 engine safety issues (October 2019)
A HeliHub article about H225s finding new homes onshore (June 2018):
A HeliHub article on the final accident report on the H225 accident in Norway (August 2018):
A Vertical article regarding the Accident Investigation Board of Norway (AIBN) recommendation for changes to Super Puma type design (July 2018):
Articles from HeliHub and Helicopter Investor regarding EASA approval for H225 rig automated approach system (February 2016):
A Helicopter Investor article about Russia’s certification of the H225 (January 2016):
An Aero Assurance article outlining the investigation timeline for the Norway accident in 2016:
Mods and Conversions
SAR to VVIP by Air Ambulance Technology:
LIMSAR conversion by GVH Aerospace:
Vertical Reference Door by Heli-One:
Engine Inlet Barrier Filter System by Aerometals:
HEMS mods for the H225 by Heli-One: