Newest Version of AS350 Ecureuil/AStar Certified
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. Even with an inlet particle separator, performance remains unchanged, according to Eurocopter. In addition, the maximum takeoff power can be maintained for 30 minutes, instead of five minutes. The initial 4,000-hour TBO is expected to increase to 6,000 hours. In addition, the tail rotor’s design has been simplified, easing the pilot’s pre-start checklist. Eurocopter also claims that the tail-rotor requires less maintenance than its predecessor. This contributes to longerinspection intervals on the helicopter, from 100 to 150 hours and from 500 to 600 hours. The upgrade was announced at this year’s Heli-Expo show in March.