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Aérospatiale AS355
Aérospatiale AS350 B
OO-HSA Eurocopter AS355 N Ecureuil II c/n 5720 - Heli Service Belgium - Hoogeveen airfield in Holland - 12 March 2022 vliegveld Hoogeveen (EHHO)

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 SNIAS (Societe nationale industrielle aérospatiale) banner with the single-engined AS 350. The first flight of an Aérospatiale 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. The AS355 Ecureuil 2 was marketed in North America as the 'TwinStar'. In September 2015, Airbus Helicopters announced that the AS355 production was to continue through 2016 until the existing order backlog was fulfilled and then terminated.
The ICAO Aircraft Type Designator for the AS355 helicopters is AS55.

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 March 2004, Eurocopter AS355 N Ecureuil II s/n 5720 was test flown as F-WQDI. On 16 August 2004, the aircraft was registered F-OVFB with Natexis Lease SA as owner and Blugeon Helicopters SA as operator. In September 2009, ownership of the F-OVFB changed to Lixxbail SA with as before Blugeon Helicopters as operator. In January 2015, Corail Hélicoptères was registered as owner / operator. On 2 March 2017, registration F-OVFB was cancelled and the Ecureuil II was registered 3B-NZG in Mauritius. Although on 7 December 2017, in Belgium registration OO-HSA for the AS355 N Ecureuil II was reserved, the helicopter was registered F-OLEG with Corail Hélicoptères on 15 March 2018. On 27 November 2018, registration F-OLEG was cancelled as exported to Belgium. On 30 January 2019, the helicopter was registered OO-HSA with Heli Service Belgium, Halle.
On 12 March 2022, the 2003-built AS355 N Ecureuil II OO-HSA was seen at Hoogeveen airfield (EHHO) when operated by Heli Service Belgium as camera-ship during the Ronde van Drenthe.

page last updated: 14-03-2022
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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