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 helicopter features enhanced Category A performance, meaning it can take off at maximum weight at up to ISA+10 at sea level. Improved one-engine-inoperative performance increases the payload by 260 pounds in hover out of ground effect at sea level in ISA conditions. The upgraded model has an mtow with sling load of 6,170 pounds, an increase of 440 pounds.
This is achieved by integrating a new main gearbox derived from the one on the AS 350B3. It offers 670 hp on the main shaft.
The AS 355NP is powered by two Turbomeca Arrius 1A1 engines. On this improved variant, a new high-pressure turbine increases emergency power, providing two-and-a-half minutes of maximum emergency power. A redesigned electrical oil cooling system is another benefit. According to Turbomeca, this redundant system is safer and frees 19 hp on the transmission system.
The cockpit of the upgraded model features a vehicle and engine multifunction display system, so the NP cockpit has commonality with the rest of the AS 350 line, the company said.
The cabin interior for corporate applications has been upgraded to the “Stylence” layout. It is designed for four passengers and one pilot “with a high level of comfort.”