A 1989 Eurocopter AS350B2 registered to Sundance Helicopters crashed December 7 during a twilight tour flight near Nevada’s Hoover Dam, killing all five aboard. The helicopter crashed the day after it was returned from maintenance for a 100-hour inspection and the replacement of its Turbomeca Arriel 1D1 engine, a main-rotor blade actuator and a tail-rotor actuator due to life-limit requirements.
Seeing a need for on-demand business transportation in two specific locations, data-storage entrepreneur and pilot Moshe Yanai is now in operation with his Boston Executive Helicopters in Norwood, Mass., and Tel Aviv Executive Helicopters in Israel.
The FAA has issued a Final Rule amendment superseding an existing airworthiness directive for specified Eurocopter AS350s and AS355s with certain tail-rotor pitch-control rods installed.
Eurocopter announced today that it has flown a “hybrid” AS350 Ecureuil/AStar, a production helicopter that combines a turboshaft internal combustion engine with an electric motor. To explore the hybrid concept, the company is using the “supplementary” electric motor to replace the main engine during what would otherwise be called an autorotation.
Eurocopter is upgrading most of its product range, with the goal of providing improved performance and reduced costs. The manufacturer is reporting progress on the developments of the AS350B3e Ecureuil (AStar), EC135T2e/P2e, EC145T2, AS365N3e and Super Puma L1e/C1e. All were announced at Heli-Expo 2011 in February.
The only rotorcraft on display at Jet Expo 2011 was the Bell 429, of which the first example to be delivered to Russia arrived in June. The helicopter came in crates and was assembled at the Moscow aircraft repair plant with help of Russian rotorcraft maker Kazan.
The Eurocopter AS350B3e, the latest version of the venerable Ecureuil/Astar light single helicopter, was certified in June, the company announced last week. A more powerful 950-shp Turbomeca Arriel 2D (in lieu of the 848-shp Arriel 2C1), features a new axial compressor, new blade material and a dual-channel Fadec. It is said to provide better performance for less fuel consumption.
American Eurocopter has developed a course designed to deal with inadvertent flight into IMC to be taught in its AS350 Level B flight and mission training simulator based at Grand Prairie, Texas. The NTSB recently recommended that the Airborne Law Enforcement Association incorporate inadvertent IMC recovery training into its accreditation standards. The course will be non-airframe specific.
Professional Aviation Associates, which claims to be the largest independent parts and rotable supplier for the Beech King Air and Beech 1900, has plans to enter the helicopter market, “particularly [for] the AS350, in a big way,” according to president Glenn MacDonald.