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. The ICAO Aircraft Type Designator for the AS350 helicopters is AS50.
Since March 2015, Airbus Helicopters uses “H125” as marketing
designation for the AS350 B3e helicopter.
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 1995, two AS350 B2 were ordered for the Dutch Police. Eurocopter France built these helicopters and AS.350B2 Ecureuil s/n 2878 was
test flown as F-WQDC in June 1995. After being re-registered F-WQDL the airframe was delivered to Maastricht
Airport on 07 July 1995. The Ecureuil was registered PH-PLA on 4 September 1995 with Schreiner Aviation Group BV.
On 31 October 1995, the PH-PLA was registered with the Korps landelijke Politie Diensten. Ecureuil PH-PLA
was operated with the KLPD-Korps Landelijke Politie Diensten out of Amsterdam-Schiphol.
The Dutch Police operated the Ecureuil not only on patrol and inspection flights: equipped with a
fire fighting system with high-pressure gun the Ecureuil was also used as a fire fighter.
Early 2002, both Ecureuils were offered for sale and sold to Heli-Holland. On 17 April 2002, the Ecureuil
PH-PLA & PH-PLB arrived on delivery to Heli-Holland at their heliport near
Emmen. On 29 May 2002, AS350 B2 PH-PLA was registered with Heli-Holland BV, Emmer-Compascuum. The PH-PLA was operated
in Finland on a long-term lease contract, before it was sold in Sweden and registered SE-JHL with Malmskogens Helikopterleasing AB on
14 March 2003. Registration PH-PLA was cancelled the same day. On 11 September 2007, the SE-JHL was registered with Tampereen
Helikopterikeskus, Orivesi, Finland. On 15 October 2012, Malmskogens Aerocenter AB, Linköping, was registered
as owner of the Aérospatiale AS350 B2 SE-JHL.