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The Eurocopter AS-350 Ecureuil

Country of origin  
France

Photos  

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Photo © Adrian Herzig

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Photo © JLS Photo
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Photo © Tino Dietsche
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Powerplants  
AS-350B - One 546kW (732shp) Turboméca Arriel 1D1 turboshaft driving a three blade main rotor and two blade tail rotor.
AS-350D - One 460kW (615shp) Textron (Avco) Lycoming LTS-101-600A2.
AS-350B-3 - One 632kW (848shp) Arriel 2B (transmission takeoff rating 500kW/671shp).

Performance  
AS-350B-2 - Max cruising speed 246km/h (133kt). Max rate of climb 1752ft/min. Hovering ceiling out of ground effect 8360ft. Range with max fuel 670km (362nm).
AS-350D - Max cruising speed 230km/h (124kt). Max inclined rate of climb 1575ft/min. Range with max fuel and no reserves 760km (410nm).
AS-350B-3 - Max cruising speed 248km/h (134kt). Initial rate of climb 1791ft/min. Hovering ceiling out of ground effect 12,240ft. Range with max fuel 666km (360nm).

Weights  
AS-350B-2 - Empty 1171kg (2582lb), max takeoff 2250kg (4960lb).
AS-350D - Empty 1070kg (2359lb), max takeoff 1950kg (4300lb), or 2100kg (4630lb) with a sling load.
AS-350B-3 - Empty 1175kg (2590lb), max takeoff 2250kg (4960lb).

Dimensions  
Main rotor diameter 10.69m (35ft 1in), length with rotors turning 12.94m (42ft 6in), fuselage length 10.93m (35ft 11in), height overall 3.14m (10ft 4in). Main rotor disc area 89.8m2 (966.1sq ft).

Capacity  
Standard seating for six, including two forward seats and a four place rear bench seat.

Production  
Approx 3000 AS-350s of all types (including military Fennecs) ordered by late 2002. In addition Helibras in Brazil has built over 300 Esquilos under licence.

Type  
Light utility helicopter

History  

Europe's most successful civil helicopter, the Ecureuil (= Squirrel) is in extensive civil and military use worldwide undertaking a variety of wide ranging missions.

Aerospatiale's development of the AS-350 Ecureuil in the early 1970s culminated in the first flights of the Avco Lycoming LTS-101 powered prototype on June 27 1974 and the Turbomeca Arriel powered prototype on February 14 1975. These aircraft were followed by eight preproduction examples, the first of which flew in late 1977.

Customer deliveries began in April 1978. Initial models offered were the Arriel powered AS-350B, which was marketed outside North America, and the LTS-101 powered AS-350C AStar sold in the USA. The AS-350C was soon replaced by the D, with a more powerful engine.

Subsequent developments include the hot and high AS-350B-1 with a 510kW (684shp) Arriel 1D; the AS-350BA which was certificated in 1991 and was in production through to 1998 and is fitted with the larger main rotors of the AS-350B-2 (AS-350Bs can be retrofitted to BA standard); and the AS-350B-2 (marketed in North America as the SuperStar) with a more powerful Arriel 1D1 turboshaft, and the main and tail rotors developed for the twin engine AS-355F Ecureuil 2 (described separately) and certificated in April 1989. The AS-350B-3 first flew on March 4 1997 and is a hot and high optimised model. Its most important change is a more powerful Arriel 2D engine. Deliveries began in January 1998.

In January 1992, Aerospatiale's helicopter division was integrated into Eurocopter.

Later production military Ecureuils are marketed as the AS-550 Fennec. The Ecureuil is also built under licence in Brazil as the HB-350 Esquilo, and a look-a-like is built in China as the Changhe Z-11.

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The backbone of this section is from the The International Directory of Civil Aircraft by Gerard Frawley and used with permission. To get your own copy of the book click here.