The Airbus Helicopters AS350 B1 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.
On 19 September 1986, the 1986-built Aérospatiale AS350 B1 Ecureuil c/n
1940 was registered first LN-OPB in Norway with Caseb Aviation as owner
and A/S Morefly, Alesund, as operator. The Ecureuil was transferred to
Helitrans, Trondheim. Registration LN-OPB was cancelled on 17 April 2007
and the next day the helicopter was registered SE-HJC in Sweden with
Osterman Helicopter, Bradstad, as operator and SG Finans Norge, Sverige
filial, as owner. On 24 May 2011, Osterman Helicopter i Göteborg, Save,
was registered as operator of the Ecureuil. Osterman Helicopter was refurbished
in the autumn of 2011 and AS350 B1 SE-HJC was registered with the new company Osterman Helicopter i Östersund
AB as operator on 16 November 2011 The new company went bankrupt on 4
September 2012 and the business was closed: the SE-HJC returned to the
owner SG Finans Norge, Sverige filial, and was offered for sale. On 14 December 2012,
registration SE-HJC was cancelled as exported to Australia. On 19 March 2015, the helicopter was registered
ZK-HHX as an AS350 B2 in New Zealand. On 29 May 2015, the AS350 B2 ZK-HHX was registered with Helilink, Auckland.
When seen at the Heli-Holland heliport near Emmen in the Netherlands, the OstermanHeli Ecureuil SE-HJC was
equiped with the TopEye, an helicopter-based airborne topography scanner system.