The Airbus Helicopters AS355 is a twin-engined light utility helicopter
that can accommodate up to 7 passengers. Development of the Ecureuil
started in the early 70s under the Aérospatiale banner with the
single-engined AS 350. The first flight of an Aerospatiale AS-350 took
place on 27 June 1994. A twin-engine version of the AS350, the AS355
Ecureuil 2 flew first on 28 September 1979. The Eucureuil 2 entered
production as the AS355 E. Early 1982, the AS355 F with a higher max
takeoff weight replaced the AS-355E in production. The AS355 F was
followed by the AS355 F1 in January 1984 and AS355 F2 in December 1985.
The AS355 N recieved the DCAG-F certification on 13 June 1989 and
deliveries of this model started in 1992. The AS355 N is fitted with two
Turbomeca Arrius 1A engines and a Full Authority Digital Engine Control
(FADEC) system for better M.T.O.W and better single engine performance.
The AS355 NP Ecureuil recieved the EASA certification on 15 February
2007. The AS355 NP Ecureuil 2 is fitted with two Turbomeca Arrius 1A1
turboshaft engines and a new AS350 B3-based main gearbox, increasing
maximum take-off weight to 2,800 kg (6,173 lb). The AS355 Ecureuil 2 is
marketed in North America as 'TwinStar'. During September 2015, Airbus
Helicopters announced that the company had decided to terminate the
manufacture of the AS355 as part of an effort to focus on stronger-selling
rotorcraft. Production of the AS355 continued through 2016 until the existing
order backlog had been fulfilled.
The helicopter divisions of MBB from Germany and Aérospatiale from France merged in January 1992 to form the Eurocopter Group.
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.
In 1981, the 1981-built Aérospatiale AS355 E Twinstar s/n 5090 was registered N5788K in the USA.
In January 1983, the helicopter was re-registered N500HH. On 12 December 1989, registration N500HH was cancelled as exported to Finland.
In Finland the helicopter was registered OH-HAQ as an AS355 F1 Ecureuil II with Helijey. In 1997, the OH-HAQ was registered with
Helikopteripalvelu, Helsinki. In October 2001, registration OH-HAQ was cancelled as exported to Austria. The same month, the AS355 F1
Ecureuil II was registered OE-XFS with SHS Schider Helicopter Transporte. In 2002, the OE-XFS was registered with Knaus Helicopter. In 2007,
the OE-XFS was registered with Heli Tirol as operator and Heli Austria as owner. In 2008, the OE-XFS was registered again with SHS Schider
Helicopter Transporte. In February 2020, AS355 F1 Ecureuil II OE-XFS was registered with SKY HELI at Schönhagen in Germany. On 8 June 2023,
AS355 F1 Ecureuil II OE-XFS was seen at Flugplatz Leer-Papenburg in service with Sky Heli. The ICAO Aircraft Type
Designator for the AS355 helicopters is AS55.