Airbus has concluded the first flight of its third H160 helicopter prototype, PT3, in a test held at its headquarters in France.

The flight was conducted as part of the ongoing flight test programme of the PT3.

During the flight, the prototype was equipped with a cabin interior configuration that is similar to that of a serial aircraft.

The flight was expected to help with the certification activities of the aircraft type and to ensure the vehicle’s level of maturity ahead of entry into service in 2019.

“It plays an essential role in delivering a mature aircraft at entry into service.”

Airbus senior vice-president and H160 programme head Bernard Fujarski said: “The third prototype incorporates a significant amount of modifications based on feedback resulting from the first two years of testing by development, production and support teams.

“It plays an essential role in delivering a mature aircraft at entry into service and it is also closer to the serial definition with its interior lining and transport cabin configuration.”

The first two prototypes of H160 have already logged more than 500 flight hours. The aircraft type made its first flight in June 2015.

All three H160 prototypes are expected to be used to complete various developmental activities, including hot weather testing, antennas and optional equipment.

The helicopter’s final assembly line in Marignane, France, is currently in the final stages of preparation and is set to be able to begin serial production soon.

Airbus is also carrying out customer support activities to serve the clients of the H160 helicopter family.

When fully developed, the helicopter family is expected to be used for the commercial air transport and offshore sectors.

Airbus also plans to develop the emergency medical services (EMS) version of the H160 helicopter.