The versatility of Airbus Helicopters’ multi-mission workhorse, the H125 (formerly AS350 B3e), will be put to the test as the latest member of Nautilus Aviation’s expanding fleet in North Queensland.
The company plans to use the versatile Squirrel for everything from luxury charters to popular helicopter tourism experiences like heli fishing and adrenaline tours, through to heavy-duty aerial work, ranging from surveys and sling operations to search and rescue, firefighting, mining support and emergency services.
“Nautilus Aviation looks forward to the arrival of its latest acquisition, the H125,” said Tony West, Senior Base Pilot at Nautilus Aviation. “The H125 brings unrivalled performance and capabilities to our fleet in our region.
“We’ve already been receiving enquiries from our long term clients and new clients who are keen to utilise the H125 for their upcoming projects as our operations expand across Australia.”
Since its beginning in 1988, the company has expanded to operate out of Cairns, Townsville, Horn Island and Weipa. Its acquisition of an H125 comes just 14 months after it purchased an EC130 T2. It also operates three Airbus Helicopters EC120s and one EC130 B4.
For the high passage of tourists to North Queensland, the fleet of helicopters offers optimal aerial viewing platforms of some of the Earth’s natural wonders, including the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest and island idylls that are otherwise difficult to reach.
Commenting on the 1 October delivery, Cedric Bessette, Director Civil Helicopters, Airbus Group Australia Pacific, said the H125 was a perfect fit for Nautilus Aviation and its increasingly diverse operational requirements.
Renowned for excelling in extreme conditions – notably including North Queensland’s hot and humid tropical climate – the H125 single-engine helicopter offers exceptional performance, agility, safety, low maintenance and low acquisition costs.
In 2005, its predecessor, the AS350 B3, broke the world record for the highest-altitude landing and take-off, performed on Mount Everest at 8,850 meters (29,035 feet).
“The H125 and other aircraft in Airbus Helicopters’ Squirrel (Écureuil) family are among our most popular,” Mr Bessette said.
“To date, in excess of 5,000 have been delivered in more than 100 countries for some 1,600 operators – in total, clocking up more than 23 million flight hours.
“And, for Australian customers, who face some of the world’s most extreme conditions, they are the perfect fit, without losing any of our signature comfort and class.”
The H125 boasts a wide, spacious, air-conditioned cabin that is easily accessed through two large sliding doors, promising low vibration levels for maximum passenger comfort.
Further, its high cruising speed, range and payload means it can carry more passengers on more roundtrip flights per day than any other helicopter in its class and, due to its versatile flat floor, can be quickly and easily reconfigured for all types of roles.
The H125 is equipped with a Turbomeca Arriel 2D turboshaft engine, including an upgraded triple engine control thanks to a dual-channel FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) unit, plus a third independent and automatic back-up channel for automatic start-up.
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