- 01 Feb 2016
- Mike Chase
- Helicopter Comparison
The AS350B-3 is a further upgraded version of the Eurocopter Ecureuil, based on the AS350B-2 but powered by a higher rated FADEC-controlled 847 shp Turbomeca Arriel 2B turboshafts. In common with the other Ecureuils, the AS350B-3 is a versatile multi-role helicopter with a standard or high clearance skid undercarriage and a five-seat interior.
The Airbus/Eurocopter AS 350B-3 costs between $1.05m for a 1997 model and $2.1m for a 2012 model, according to Aircraft Bluebook’s spring 2021 data. These prices represent the average retail price for the respective model year. Individual aircraft may incorporate modifications and upgrades, however, which could impact an agreed sale price. And other airplane-specific factors will determine the value of each aircraft, including its maintenance condition, the number of hours on the airframe and engine, and the time before the next big inspection or overhaul. These aircraft-specific factors all combine to create a sale price at, above, or below the average retail for the aircraft’s model year.
Besides the Airbus AS 350B-3, there are a number of popular options in the single-engine turbine helicopter market – including the Bell 206L-4, which also has a five-seat cabin, with the potential to add a sixth passenger up front. The Bell 206L-4 is powered by a Rolls-Royce 250-C30P engine.
The AS 350-B3 combines the appeal of previous models in the family with a more powerful engine. In fact, this is a highly versatile platform that can fly up to 340nm and carry as many as six passengers, plus the pilot. The AS 350B-3 is a serial version of the model that landed and took off from the top of Mount Everest in 2005.
The Airbus H125 is the commercial naming for the Airbus AS 350B-3e, and is today the flagship of what was previously the AS350 line. Just like the AS 350B-3, the H125 is a versatile intermediate single-engine turbine helicopter option, capable of carrying up to six passengers plus the pilot. However, it utilizes the Arriel 2D powerplant (as opposed to the Arriel 2B of the AS 350B-3). The Airbus H125 is especially known for its excellent performance characteristics in hot and high environments.
Airbus AS 350B-3 Helicopter Overview
By Gerrard Cowan
The Airbus AS 350B-3 is an upgraded version of the well-known Eurocopter Écureuil, and introduced a higher-rated engine to the popular single-engine turbine helicopter series.
Though known as a multi-role helicopter, the AS 350 Écureuil is a popular name in the international VIP/corporate markets, and has been progressively upgraded since the 1970s to the present day (where it is represented by the Airbus H125).
The AS 350B-3 is a versatile model, allowing room for up to six passengers (more typically five), and offering a range of up to 360nm. It is often called the ‘AStar’ on the North American market. Over its production run under Eurocopter, then Airbus, 1,131 AS 350B-3 aircraft were manufactured, according to JETNET.
What features does the Airbus AS 350B-3 offer?
The Airbus AS 350B-3 was developed in the late 1990s, bringing a FADEC-controlled Turbomeca (now Safran) Arriel 2B1 turboshaft engine to the aircraft.
As with some other members of the AS 350 family, this multi-role helicopter has a standard or high clearance skid undercarriage, and a standard five-seat interior, in addition to the pilot’s seat.
What came before and after the Airbus AS 350B-3?
The Airbus AS 350B-3 continued a line of successful aircraft, and followed the Eurocopter AS 350B, the AS 350B-1, the AS 350B-A, and the AS 350B-2. A version utilizing a Lycoming engine was also produced (the AS 350C) and was soon replaced by the AS 350D.
The AS 350B-3 brought a higher-rated 847shp Turbomeca Arriel 2B1 turboshaft to the airframe, while it also offered a higher gross weight. Today, the line is represented by the Airbus H125, which was previously known as the AS 350B-3e before Airbus changed its helicopter naming convention.
The Airbus H130 (previously the EC130 T2) is also a modern entrant in the AS 350 family, and has the same powerful Arriel 2D engine as the AS 350B-3e, along with a spacious cabin that provides room for up to seven passengers and a pilot.
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