AEROSPATIALE AS 355F1, MADISON, FLA., JUNE 11, 2003–About 1:29 p.m. EDT an Aerospatiale N217ES, registered to Banc One Leasing and operated by CJ Systems Aviation Group, crashed while attempting to take off from a baseball field in Madison. The aircraft was operating as a Part 135 aeromedical flight in VMC on a company VFR flight plan.
Eurocopter Canada has announced the delivery of its 500th helicopter in the country–an AS355 NP Ecureuil light twin. The NP is an upgraded version with Turbomeca Arrius 1A1 engines that provide a 20-percent payload improvement. Customer Phoenix Heli-Flight is based in Fort McMurray, Alberta. It performs medevac, firefighting, passenger transport and various kinds of aerial work operations.
Turbomeca, the French helicopter turbine engine manufacturer, predicts the helicopter market overall will experience continued strong growth for the next two years before cooling somewhat. In that span, the company will be working overtime to keep up with demand.
The diesel-powered Diamond DA42 TwinStar made its first flight on December 9 from the factory at Wiener Neustadt, Austria. TwinStar’s Thielert Centurion 1.7 engines rated at 135 hp each are designed to operate on both diesel fuel and jet-A1. The composite-construction four-seat aircraft has a single-lever power control for each engine, fuel consumption of 67 pph at 180 kt and an option for an all-glass cockpit.
Eurocopter AS 350BA, Brooklyn, N.Y., May 4, 2004–The NTSB blamed the crash of Helinet Aviation Services’ WNBC News Chopper 4 on the pilot’s failure to maintain control after a loss of hydraulic system pressure.
The FAA has issued an airworthiness directive (AD) for the Eurocopter AS 350B/BA/B1/B2/B3/D and AS 355E Squirrel light helicopters, requiring replacement of the hydraulic fluid at a specified interval when operating in cold weather. The amendment is prompted by reports of ice forming due to condensation in some parts of the hydraulic system.
At last month’s Paris Air Show Eurocopter delivered the first upgraded Ecureuil/TwinStar, the AS 355NP, its current light twin offering. According to the Marignane, France-based manufacturer, the helicopter offers better performance, an enhanced cockpit and improved cabin interior. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certified the aircraft on February 15. Transport Canada and Russian certifications are expected later this year.
The new Eurocopter AS 355 NP Ecureuil on display here at Le Bourget will shortly be delivered to the first customer, Scandinavian Helicopter Group. The Swedish operator uses its fleet of rotorcraft mainly for passenger transport and aerial work.
Here at the Paris Air Show, helicopter engine manufacturer Turbomeca announced three contracts for its support-by-the-hour (SBH) scheme.
Paris-based operator Trans Helicopter Service (THS) has its twin-engine Eurocopter AS 355 Ecureuil II available here at EBACE 2007 for demo flights of Safe Flight’s helicopter powerline detection system (PDS). The system has just been awarded certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on the AS 355. THS conducted the certification work on behalf of Safe Flight, based in White Plains, New York.