By Naomi Szeben
PHI Aviation has been selected to operate four Airbus H160s to service a support contract for Shell Exploration & Production Company (SEPCO) in the Gulf of Mexico.
The H160 features ground-breaking new levels of safety, comfort and schedule reliability in offshore operations. This newly executed 10-year contract marks a history entry of the aircraft into the oil and gas industry. The H160 aircraft will be based in Houma, Louisiana. These four H160 aircraft combine with four long standing and successful Sikorsky S92 aircraft to frame this new SEPCO contract.
In September 2021, Airbus will provide one H160 ahead of final deliveries to PHI and Shell for a year-long route-proving program to enable PHI and Shell to familiarize themselves with the type’s advanced features and mitigate the normal challenges around entry into service.
“We are proud to be playing a key role in the entry into service of the highly advanced H160 in the offshore sector in partnership with Shell and Airbus,” said Keith Mullett, Managing Director, PHI Aviation in a statement.
With 68 patents, the H-160 features a suite of pilot aids delivered through its Helionix avionics, which substantially reduces crew workload and cuts the risk of pilot error. They include a ground helipad assisted take-off procedure, a vortex ring state pre-alerting system and a recovery mode to automatically regain steady flight in difficult circumstances.
The H160 incorporates an embedded monitoring system and a redundancy of sensors, and can be maintained autonomously far from base. The design emphasizes robust corrosion defence specifically envisaging offshore missions.