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Aérospatiale AS350 B
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F-GRAC Aérospatiale AS350 B2 Ecureuil c/n 1652 - HdF-Hélicoptères de France - Rotterdam The Hague Airport in Holland - 2 July 2010 Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTM)

The Aérospatiale AS350 B2 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 Aerospatiale 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. Since March 2015, Airbus Helicopters uses “H125” as marketing designation for the AS350 B3e helicopter.
The ICAO Aircraft Type Designator with Wake Category used to classify aircraft types for the AS350 / H125 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.

Aérospatiale AS350 B2 Ecureuil s/n 1652 was built in 1982 as an AS350B. In November 1982, the Ecureuil was registered ZK-HST in South Africa with Helicopter Specialities. Already in 1982, the ZK-HST was transferred to Paul Cant / Olympic Airways and registered in Greece as SX-HBP. In service with Olympic Airways, the aircraft was modified in to an AS350 BA. After being withdrawn from use with Olympic Airways, the SX-HBP was dismanteld and the airframe returned to France. The aircraft was rebuilt as an AS350 B2 and registration F-GPUM was reserved in 1995. On 26 July 1995, the rebuilt AS350 B2 entered the French register as F-GRAC with Cie Financière de Crédit Bail as registered owner. Ecureuil F-GRAC entered service with Hélico de France. On 3 January 2001, the F-GRAC was registered with Loc Heli SARL, Tallard, and is operated since by HdF – Hélicoptères de France, Tallard.
On 2 July 2010, the Aérospatiale AS350 B2 Ecureuil F-GRAC was seen at Rotterdam The Hague Airport (EHRD/RTM) when used as a relay station on behalf of france télévisions during Tour de France on 2 July 2010.

page last updated: 10-04-2015
Photo Copyright © Henk Wadman, Schiedam, the Netherlands

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