Helicopter modification list for the flight

 

First flight of the single-engine,
high-performance, AS 350 B3 Ecureuil

The high-performance version of the single-turbine Ecureuil helicopter, the AS 350 B3, made its first flight from Marignane on March 4, 1997 with test-pilot Didier Gurin and flight test engineer Bernard Certain at the controls. This 70 minute flight demonstrated flawless all-around operation of the helicopter.

With this latest version of the single-engine Ecureuil, Eurocopter offers operators more power, greater payload capacity over a broader temperature/altitude envelope, an augmented sling load capability and higher cruise speed.

Strong points of the AS 350 B3 are its powerplant - an electronically controlled Turbomeca Arriel 2B - and its modernized instrument panel featuring dual-color aircraft and engine multifunction displays (VEMDs) to indicate the status of the main platform and engine parameters.

Other improvements on the AS 350 B3 include engine control via a twistgrip on the pilots collective-pitch lever, a main gearbox upgraded to 500 kW, and adoption of the tail rotor used on the twin-engine version.

The Arriel 2B engine develops 847 shp at takeoff and offers the benefits of electronic engine control, including an automatic start-up sequence and engine performance optimized to suit outside conditions. Embodying state-of-the-art technology, with single-crystal turbine blades and a single power stage, the Arriel 2B provides outstanding reliability and simplified maintenance.

Using symbology that mimics traditional readouts, the VEMD displays the main engine and vehicle parameters, along with a First Limitation Indication (FLI). Presenting all relevant information in the form of a symbology display in conjunction with an FLI-alert audio warning system makes for a substantially lightened cockpit workload.

The VEMD also performs a number of ancillary functions such as computing takeoff weights, monitoring engine power, and recording cycles and limit-value overshoots. The VEMD provides an important safety factor, ensuring more effective mission execution, especially with external loads.

Maximum takeoff weight of the AS 350 B3 is 2.250 kg with a internal load, 2.750 kg with an external load. This 250 kg increase in external load capacity compared to the AS 350 B2 means an ability to lift sling-loads of up to 1.400 kg.

Optional equipment such as a downward-looking window, an electrically controlled viewing mirror and lefthand piloting make the AS 350 B3 the No.1 choice among light helicopter for sling-load work.

Offering higher speed than the AS 350 B2 and new interior appointments, the AS 350 B3 additionally possesses the qualities of a business and passenger transport rotorcraft.

French DGAC certification is expected in November of this year with delivery of the first machines planned for the following month. Three AS 350 B3 have already been ordered in Europe.

With the AS 350 B3, Eurocopter introduces a high-end addition to its existing range of single-engine models (AS 350 BA and AS 350 B2) and replaces the Lama with a remarkably versatile machine offering significantly lower maintenance costs and fuel consumption.

The Fennec AS 550 single-turbine military version will be powered by the same Arriel 2B, enabling it to perform observation, fire support or antitank missions in high-altitude or high-temperature environments.

To date, more than 2,000 single-engine Ecureuil/Fennecs have been sold in 62 countries to 860 customers representing an aggregate 7.5 million flight hours of on hand experience.

Copyright 1997, WilburGroup, Inc. All rights reserved. 


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