Airbus Helicopters Inc. has delivered a new Airbus H145 to San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), a major Southern California public utility company, which has put the aircraft to use supporting its vast electric transmission and distribution network.
This helicopter is the first H145 in utility service in the U.S. Other operations of the modern twin-engine helicopter include law enforcement, air medical transport, offshore oil & gas, and Private Business Aviation.
SDG&E selected the H145 for its missions after an extensive review of the latest helicopter models and technology available that would meet the company’s challenging requirements, which include heavy loads, range and high/hot operations. The company uses helicopters for stringing power lines, setting poles, transporting maintenance crews to remote locations and patrolling its vast power line network.
“We wanted to find an aircraft suited for all of our missions with the primary concern being the safety margins,” said Jesse Thrush, SDG&E Aviation Analyst. “The H145 was chosen because of the twin engines, power margins, flight controls, the Helionix avionics suite and the advanced autopilot.”
“The highly versatile Airbus H145 is quickly becoming one of the most popular helicopters in North America, and the entire Airbus organization greatly appreciates this endorsement of our aircraft by an outstanding company like San Diego Gas & Electric,” said Chris Emerson, President of Airbus Helicopters Inc. “Our team looks forward to supporting SDG&E and its mission and providing you with outstanding service.”
The H145 has a roomy cabin that can seat eight or more passengers. It features the Airbus Helicopters developed Helionix avionics, including a standard 4-axis digital Automatic Flight Control System for reduced pilot workload and improved situational awareness. The Turbomeca Arriel 2E engines, with dual channel FADEC, generate 951 shaft horsepower for take-off and allow improved hover and one-engine inoperative performance, as well as increased maximum gross weight capability. The Fenestron enclosed tail rotor dramatically reduces noise levels.
SDG&E is a regulated electricity and natural gas utility that provides service to San Diego County and southern Orange County in southwestern California. Its service area spans 4,100 square miles and includes more than 3.3 million consumers, 1.4 million electric meters, and more than 840,000 natural gas meters. SDG&E is owned by Sempra Energy, a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.
Airbus Helicopters Inc. is the leading provider of civil and commercial helicopters in the U.S. The company is based in Grand Prairie, TX, where it operates helicopter completion, paint, and MRO facilities, performs flight test and engineering support, and flight and maintenance training for customers. The Columbus, MS, plant produces UH-72A Lakota helicopters for the U.S. Army and the H125 for the civil market.