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Aérospatiale AS350 B
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F-GLFM Aérospatiale AS350 BA Ecureuil c/n 1395 - HdF-Hélicoptères de France 'le Tour de france VIP 3' - Rotterdam The Hague Airport in Holland - 4 July 2010 Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTM)

The Aérospatiale AS350 BA is a single-engined utility helicopter that can accommodate up to 7 passengers. Development of the AS 350 Ecureuil started in the early 70s under the Aérospatiale banner. The first flight of an AvcoLycoming LTS101-powered machine took place on 27 June 1994. The second prototype was fitted with an Arriel 1A and took to the air on 14 February 1975. Certification (with a Turboméca Arriel 1B turboshaft powerplant) was achieved on 27 October 1977. The single-engined AS 350B2, powered with a Turbomeca Arriel 1D1 engine was certified in April 1989. The helicopter divisions of MBB from Germany and Aérospatiale from France merged in January 1992 to form the Eurocopter Group. The Eurocopter AS350 B3 is a high-performance version of the AS350 series, powered by a Arriel 2B engine equipped with a single channel (DECU) Digital Engine Control Unit with a mechanical backup system. The AS350 B3, made its first flight from Marignane on 4 March 1997. Latest upgrade of the AS350 is the AS350 B3e (enhanced) version that is fitted with a Turboméca Arriel 2D engine. The AS350 B3e model was approved by the EASA on 17 June 2011 and has next to the new engine, a new interior design, tail rotor improvements and optimised optional equipment. The new console panel’s concept “Multibloc” is installed since aircraft S/N 7218. The AS350 B3e has an upgraded MTOW of 2370 kg when dual hydraulic. Over 5200 AS350 models had been delivered worldwide. The AS 350 is marketed as Ecureuil. The AS350 Ecurieul is also known Squirrel and is marketed as Esquilo in Brazil and AStar in the USA. In the USA, the AS350 is also known as SuperStar. The ICAO Aircraft Type Designator for the AS350 helicopters is AS50.

As a result of the merger between the Eurocopter parents Aérospatiale-Matra; DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (DASA) and Construcciones Aeronàuticas Sociedad Anonima (CASA) in July 2000, the Eurocopter group became a division of the new formed EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space company). Taking off into 2014, EADS was rebranded as "Airbus Group". Uniting all its activities under a single brand, its helicopter division Eurocopter was rebranded as Airbus Helicopters on 8 January 2014.

The 1980-built Aérospatiale AS350 B Ecureuil s/n 1395 was test flown as F-WZFF. On 29 December 1980, the aircraft was registered G-PORR in the UK with The Colt Car Company in Cirencester. On 17 August 1984, the aircraft was re-registered G-PDCC. On 14 February 1985, Ecureuil G-PDCC was leased by The Colt Car Company to Devon and Cornwall Police Authority, Middlemoor. Registration G-PDCC was cancelled on 12 November 1986 and registered SE-HRR in Sweden with Norrlandsflyg on 23 February 1987. The aircaft was substantial damaged at Ladjovagge on 14 June 1989 and registration SE-HRR was cancelled on 6 February 1990. The airframe returned to SNIAS in France and was rebuilt as an AS350 BA and on 4 December 1991 registered F-WZJD with SNIAS. On 16 January 1992, the AS350 BA was registered F-GLFM with Airinfi Air Ingenierie Finance as owner. On 11 February 1992, the F-GLFM was registered with Natiolocation, Putaux; on 13 December 1996, with S.N.C. MFL, Paris; on 9 September 1997 with Loxxia Bail; on 13 October 1999 with CM-CIC Bail and on 18 November 2005 with Loc Heli SARL, Tallard. Over the years AS350 BA F-GLFM was operated by Héli France, Horizon and HdF-Hélicoptères de France. On 23 May 2011, registration F-GLFM was cancelled as exported to Germany and re-registered D-HJDS. On 4 July 2010, Ecureuil F-GLFM was seen at Rotterdam The Hague Airport in the Netherlands as "VIP 3" when used as VIP transport during Tour de France 2010.

page last updated: 14-01-2014
Photo Copyright © Henk Wadman, Schiedam, the Netherlands

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