The Airbus Helicopters 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 with Wake Category used
to classify aircraft types for the AS350 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.
On 19 February 2001, the
2001-built Eurocopter AS350 B2 Ecureuil s/n 9031 was leased by Loc
Heli SARL, Tallard, and is operated since by HdF – Hélicoptères de
France, Tallard. On 16 March 2001, the aircraft was registered F-GXPE
with SA ProCredit-Probail, and SanPaolo Bail as owners. Ecureuil F-GXPE
was operated first in the colours of Héli Union France, one of the
founding companies of Hélicoptères de France. On 17 April 2007,
registered ownership changed to Loc Heli SARL, Tallard. On 4 July
2010, Ecureuil F-GXPE was seen at Rotterdam The Hague Airport in the
Netherlands when used as a relay station on behalve of france
télévisions during Tour de France 2010.