The Airbus Helicopters H130 Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) fills the market gap between the H120 "Colibri" and H135 platforms. This class of helicopter is capable of taking on a myriad of roles to serve various industries. With some 700 of the series completed to date (2021), the H130 operates under the flags of global operators covering law enforcement, environmental, security, touring, MEDEVAC, and Search & Rescue (SAR) services from Australia and Bangladesh to Switzerland and the United States.
The H130 was an original development of Eurocopter and arrived onto the scene under the "EC130" designation before the company's absorption into Airbus. The EC130/H130 is a further development of the proven and globally popular Eurocopter AS350 "Ecureuil" / "AStar" line introduced back in 1975 (over 3,500 units produced).
Like other LUHs from Eurocopter, the H130 sports a "Fenestron" shrouded tail rotor unit. While more complex than traditional, exposed tail rotors, this arrangement offers reduced noise generation and protects the rotor unit from ingestion of foreign objects. The system is used as an anti-torque device for the vehicle.
The helicopter as a whole takes on a sleek, bullet-like shape. The cockpit section is rounded and showcases large window panels for optimal viewing. Seating is side-by-side and the instrument panel is relatively clean and uncluttered with a focus on pertinent systems and performance management. Conventional control sticks are seated between the knees of either pilot position with a shared collective control handle in between. The standardized avionics suite includes a Vehicle and Engine Multi-Function Display (VEMD) system as well as First Limit Indicator (FLI) unit. The undercarriage is a simple four-point skid assembly reducing complexity and maintenance of the compact machine even further.
Beyond the two forward seating positions, the cabin can house an additional four passengers in some comfort. VIP models introduce the usual perks and creature comforts consistent with the VIP transport role.
The engine (with Full Authority Digital Engine Control - FADEC) is mounted atop the cabin and drives a three-bladed main unit with the cylindrical exhaust port protruding from the rear of the mounting. The powerplant is a Turbomeca Arriel 2 series turboshaft engine offering 848 horsepower to drive the main rotor / tail rotor arrangement. Performance specs include a never-exceed-speed of 178 miles-per-hour, a cruising speed of 150 mph, a range out to 380 miles, and a service ceiling of 23,000 feet. Rate-of-climb reaches 1,800 feet-per-minute.
Variants of the line include the original H130 B4 launch model, the H130 T2 with uprated Arriel 2D engine (thus enhancing performance and overall capabilities), and the VIP-minded ACH130.
Key marketed qualities of the H130 are its proven pedigree, reliability, noise signature, and ease of maintenance - all this atop a very versatile frame.
January 2021 - An Airbus Helicopters H130 has been outfitted to serve as a flying testbed/laboratory for the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) program, set to test out various flight safety systems as well as a hybrid-electric powerplant.
Antigua and Barbuda; Australia; Bangladesh; Brazil; Canada; France; Monaco; Netherlands; Portugal; Switzerland; United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Special-Mission: MEDical EVACuation (MEDEVAC)
Extraction of wounded combat or civilian elements by way of specialized onboard equipment and available internal volume or external carrying capability.
✓Special-Mission: Search & Rescue (SAR)
Ability to locate and extract personnel from areas of potential harm or peril (i.e. downed airmen in the sea).
Used in the Very-Important-Person (VIP) passenger transport role, typically with above-average amenities and luxuries as standard.
✓Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
VERTICAL TAKE-OFF / LANDING (VTOL)
Series has a tactical capability to take-off and / or land vertically, a quality commonly associated with helicopters.
SHROUDED TAIL ROTOR
Tail rotor is housed within a Fennestron (or similar) protected multi-bladed arrangement, lowering operating noise and reducing foreign body intake threat.
Features partially- or wholly-enclosed crew workspaces.
35.1 ft (10.70 m)
35.1 ft (10.70 m)
11.0 ft (3.35 m)
3,042 lb (1,380 kg)
5,357 lb (2,430 kg)
+2,315 lb (+1,050 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Airbus Helicopters H130 B4 production variant)
1 x Turbomeca Arriel 2B1 turboshaft engine developing 848 horsepower driving three-bladed main rotor unit and Fenestron-shrouded tail rotor unit.
H130 - Rebranding of EC130 under Airbus Helicopters.
EC130 - Original market designation under Eurocopter brand label.
EC130 B4 - Initial market production form of 2001.
EC130 T2 - Upgraded B4 variant; uprated Arreil 2D turboshaft engine; enhanced performance specifications; cabin air conditioning as standard.
ACH130 - VIP transport model.
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.
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Image from Airbus Helicopters marketing materials.
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