Canadian firm Heli-Lynx Helicopter Services launched the TwinStar 355FX mod at Heli-Expo last month. The program, which has received Transport Canada approval and was awaiting FAA certification at press time, essentially modifies an IFR Eurocopter AS 355F2 TwinStar into a twin-engine version of the VFR AS 350 AStar.
“The majority of TwinStars are flown in VFR operations, and the electrical system required to support IFR in the TwinStar is a constant source of problems,” claimed Heli-Lynx CEO Mike Whitter. “The 355FX incorporates a completely re-engineered VFR electrical system using proven off-the-shelf components.”
Whitter said the mod was developed because Heli-Lynx personnel became “frustrated” trying to obtain used AS 350B2s “at a decent price” for their customers and found they could buy twin-engine AS 355s at nearly half the price ($550,000) versus $850,000 to $950,000 for an AS 350B2.
The modification results in an additional 600 pounds of useful load compared with the AS 350B2, Whitter said. Pricing for a refurbished TwinStar with the FX mod is approximately $1 million, depending on options. Three have already been sold to operators in Canada and the U.S., pending FAA certification.