Demand for Airbus Corporate Helicopters (ACH) products in North America is continuing to grow with notable ACH130 orders being placed by Franklin Mountain Management, an investment company based in El Paso, Texas, and Canadian businessman Sylvain Oligny.
“North American customers have continued to see the value helicopters provide for private and business aviation purposes, leading to a very active market that has nearly doubled over the past two years,” says Romain Trapp, president of Airbus Helicopters and head of the North America region. “Airbus is pleased to be the leading provider of helicopters for this market, with orders placed in 2022 for every helicopter in our ACH range.”
A first time Airbus customer, Franklin Mountain Management has placed an order for an ACH130, opting to upgrade its original order to the Aston Martin Edition. The aircraft will feature special edition interior and exterior options designed by Aston Martin. The company intends to use the helicopter for VIP transport, real estate tours and various ranch purposes across locations in New Mexico and Texas.
Quebec-based Oligny, an Airbus customer from the road transportation sector, has confirmed purchase of an ACH130 to upgrade his current EC120B. The helicopter will be equipped with a customised interior and cold weather kit to meet the year-round operational needs of Oligny’s company, Aviation St-Michel.
Airbus Helicopters is continuing to experience growing demand for its H160 helicopters, with more than a dozen H160s already ordered by North American customers to date to fulfil a range of missions. Featuring the latest technology, the ACH160 has made an impression on customers in the private and business aviation market, with four ACH160s ordered for this purpose in 2022.
To support this growth and the aircraft’s entry to service, plans are in place for the addition of the first H160 full flight simulator (FFS) in North America. The FFS will be a critical training tool for the increasing number of customers in North and Latin America that have already placed orders for the aircraft.
“The H160 features the highest level of innovation and was designed to provide our customers with tremendous value in comfort, performance and safety, regardless of the mission they are carrying out,” says Trapp. “The addition of an H160 FFS in North America ensures pilots have easy access to a smooth transition between theory and practice.”
This continued growth of the H160 in North America is leading Helisim, an Airbus Helicopters and Thales joint venture, to invest in a new H160 level D FFS to be located in the US. The FFS is expected to accommodate approximately 400 pilots a year, with a potential of more than 4,000 training hours annually. It will be located at the Helisim Simulation Center inside the Airbus Helicopters facility in Grand Prairie, Texas, and is expected to be ready for use around the second half of 2025.