LONDON – Airbus Helicopters delivered Japan’s 100th H135 to Mainichi Newspapers on 24 September, marking a major milestone in the country for the Airbus rotorcraft.
The new H135 will complement Mainichi Newspapers’ existing fleet of three H135 helicopters, reinforcing their missions in the southern region of Japan. The four H135 helicopters are jointly operated by Kyodo News, which covers nationwide activities.
Mainichi Newspapers statement
“The H135 offers great fuel efficiency, allowing it to fly for longer, and further, benefitting our daily operations. As the aircraft is equipped with an autopilot capability, it greatly reduces the pilots’ workload,” said Mr. Fumiya Nakamura, pilot of Mainichi Newspapers.
Since the delivery of the country’s first H135 to Toho Air Service in April 1997 for electronic news gathering (ENG) activities, Japanese operators across the country have been tapping into Airbus Helicopters’ H135 operational excellence.
The helicopter also performs a variety of missions spanning utility, emergency medical services, law enforcement, media broadcasting, passenger transportation, and training.
Strong presence in EMS market
Japan’s need for helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) continues to grow with operators increasingly calling on the uniquely-suited H135. Nearly 50% of the helicopters deployed nationwide for these life-saving missions are H135s, demonstrating its strong ability to outperform in this sector.
Nakanihon Air, one of the largest Japanese operators, received its 20th H135 aircraft in 2019. The company uses this fleet to perform emergency medical service (EMS) missions at 12 bases nationwide, as well as a press coverage aircraft.
“With life-saving missions and 365 days a year operation, the aircraft needs to be ready at any time. The H135’s simple maintenance and parts supply system ensure it can be reliably dispatched,” said Mr. Tsuyoshi Shibata, Corporate Officer of Nakanihon Air.
“The quietness and safety of the Fenestron are also appreciated by many medical professionals during transport operations at emergency sites,” he added.
Photo Credit: NAKANIHON AIR Co. Ltd.
Powerline patrol operations
Tohoku Air Service (TAS) has been operating Airbus Helicopters aircraft since the company was established over 30 years ago. The H135 helps patrol power lines in order to ensure a stable and reliable supply of electricity.
“We have been operating the H135 since 2008 and schedule 1,000 flight hours per year with our current three aircraft,” explains Mr. Shota Ebisu, Mechanic at TAS.
“During the 1,000 flight hours, the H135 requires less inspection, therefore we can expect high aircraft availability.”
“Also, for power line patrol missions, it requires flying in mountainous areas. The H135 provides the safety and stability in low-speed flight, ample power, and also flying with the twin engines; these are the reasons for choosing this aircraft,” he added.
Law enforcement operations
Law enforcement is also a sector where the H135 has excelled. As the market leader for light twin-engine helicopters, its compact build, agility, and high availability make it an outstanding aircraft for police operations.
The National Police Agency of Japan employs 14 H135s for law enforcement operations as well as personnel and VIP transport, goods transportation, disaster relief, as well as a wide area of support operations.
Photo Credit: Airbus Helicopters