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.
Turbomeca has received EASA certification for its 950-shp Arriel 2D turboshaft, destined to power the Eurocopter AS350B3e Squirrel. The Arriel 2D is said to provide better performance (its predecessor stood at 848 shp) for lower fuel consumption. The initial 4,000-hour TBO is expected to increase to 6,000 hours.
Helicopter engine manufacturer Turbomeca (Hall 2A A232) is busy developing improved models for new Eurocopter variants in the light-single and medium-twin helicopter categories, as well as an engine family that will power China’s and Russia’s forays in medium twins.
Eurocopter this week delivered the 1,000th Dauphin medium twin, with the milestone copy going to India-based Pawan Hans Helicopters. The aircraft, an AS365N3, was handed over in an offshore configuration. Pawan Hans is the world’s largest civil operator of the model, with a fleet of 35 Dauphins.
Responding to demand from the aeromedical industry, Jet Support Services (JSSI) is adding Eurocopter EC135/145 services to its lineup. “We did a market-share analysis last June and found a total of 633 Eurocopter EC135s and 377 EC145s in service worldwide,” Kandi Spangler, JSSI v-p of marketing, told AIN.
Air Medical Resource Group ordered seven Eurocopter AS350B3e rotorcraft at Heli-Expo, becoming the launch customer for the new model AStar introduced at this year’s convention. A more powerful version of the AS350B3, it’s powered by a Turbomeca Arriel 2D turboshaft engine and new generation Fadec. Certification is planned for this summer and deliveries are scheduled to begin by year’s end.
The leadership team at Dart Helicopter Services has changed. Mike O’Reilly, president of Eagle Copters, Calgary, Alberta, has succeeded Jeff Shapiro as president and CEO. O’Reilly will remain in his post at Eagle. Shapiro will continue at Dart in an advisory capacity while Steve Joseph continues as COO.
To signify their continuing evolution, Eurocopter is applying an “e” suffix to the latest variants of its helicopters. One of these evolved products, the AS350B3e, is at Heli-Expo 2011 on the Eurocopter display and shown here in an air-to-air factory publicity photo.
Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services-North America (Booth No. 2137), a subsidiary of Vector Aerospace, came into Heli-Expo 2011 on the heels of “another banner year.” The Canadian MRO specialist saw the 2010 opening of new facilities in Huntsville, Ala.; Calgary, Alberta, Canada; and Lanseria, South Africa.
Eurocopter is believed to be working on an improved EC145–possibly to be designated the EC146, if recent trademark filings are any clue–featuring a fenestron shrouded tail rotor and Fadec-controlled engines. Aircraft spotter photographs reveal the light twin is already in flight test. An industry source told AIN that customers have been clamoring for Fadec since the commercial launch of the EC145 program.