Airbus H175 & Avicopter AC352

This 'super medium-sized' helicopter started its life as the Eurocopter EC175, jointly developed with Harbin from China where it would be the Z-15. When Eurocopter was absorbed in the Airbus consortium it became the Airbus Helicopters H175. In China, the name was also changed, in Avicopter AC352.

The H175 has a stubby appearance thanks to the rather short fuselage and tail boom, and in particular a relatively large engine/gear box housing, creating a 'waterhead' appearance. At the end, where the tail boom starts, there are strakes. The fuselage has a 'bone line' like the NH90, but less pronounced. The two wheeled nose gear retracts rearward in the fuselage, but remains partially visible. The single main gears retract to the side of the fuselage, but remain exposed. The helicopter has a five-blade main rotor and a three-blade, slightly tilted tail rotor on top of the vertical stabiliser. Finally, the horizontal stabilisers, placed aft of the vertical stabiliser, have rounded triangular end plates. 

One of the main distinctive features of the H175 is the relatively large streamline body on top of the fuselage, containing the engines and gear box, giving the H175 a 'waterhead' appearance.

The H175 has horizontal stabilisers aft of the vertical stabiliser. They have nearly triangular end plates. Also visible (on the left) are the strakes at the end of the gear box/engine hub.

Different versions

The different versions of the H175 and AC352 can be distinguished by looking at

  • the shape and location engine exhausts
  • the presence of strakes at the end of the gear box hub

Airbus H175 & H175M

The Airbus H175 has two Pratt & Whitney engines, which have rectangular exhausts popping out of the side of the hub on top of the fuselage. See the first detail photo above.

H175M is the marketing name for the military version, but so far we haven't noticed a difference compared to the civil version.

Avicopter AC352

The Chinese variant has Chinese engines, which have round exhausts at the end of the gear box hub, pointing up. The AC352 does not have the strakes at the junction of the gear box hub and tail boom like the H175.

The engine exhausts of the AC352 are different from those of the H175, so these are the way to recognise it.

Confusion possible with

Leonardo AW139


The AW139 is similar in size as the H175, and has a slight 'bone line', a twin wheel nose and single wheel main gear as well. But there are many differences: a longer nose, the main gear retracts in sponsons, a tail rotor on the right side and bent up tips of the horizontal stabilisers.

NHIndustries NH90


The slightly larger NH90 also has a 'bone line', but more pronounced, and a two wheeled nose gear. The single wheel main gears fully retract in sponsons attached to the lower fuselage. The NH90 has a four-blade main and tail rotor. Finally, it has a rear loading ramp.

Bell 525 Relentless


This slender helicopter has a five-blade main rotor as well as, and a similar gear, but it lacks the stubby, waterhead appearance of the H175. Moreover, the Bell 525 has a four blade tail rotor. The main landing gear retracts in sponsons. Finally, it has a pylon on top of the engine/gear box housing. (photo: Zane Adams/WikiMedia)