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kootenay

As350B2, Sd2, Or Fx2

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Believe it or not I am about to ask for all of your Comments on the Subject. That could be a mistake, but hey I'm always the optimist.

 

So here's the challenge and I know you are all up to it. Staying on Topic for two whole pages. Here we go ...

 

Starting down the road of trying to figure out which machine will reward us with better value, the fewest sleepless nights, ease of maintenance, pilot friendly, and did I say "Best in Class" value.

 

AS350B2 - Arriel 1D1 - Not feeling good about many angles to this route. High DOC's, higher fuel burn, limited parts, no spare engines around if need be, and so on ....

Comments please ...

 

AS350SD2 - Popular conversion, LTS 101 700D-2 great engine (so I hear), must use an existing AS350B2. So higher entry cost to start with a B2, retains Eurocopter electrics - not a good thing. Performance increase - maybe - seems to depend on who you talk to.

Comments please ...

 

AS350FX2 - Another popular conversion, same LTS 101-700D-2 engine, but conversion can take place to a BA or B2 - Hmmmm, cheaper to convert if using a BA. Electrical upgrade - big time improvement. But, sounds like an ongoing battle with Eurocopter on "Approved" parts and whether they will permit B2 parts on a BA converted machine.

Comments please .....

 

So now that you all realize that I don't speak Astar, I've spoken Bell my 20+ years in the business (mind you I did have to take French in High School).

 

Whats the consenus around the group.

 

**** maybe a Bell206L4 ?? Sure would simplify the paper work side, training matrix, parts inventory ....

 

Thanks in Advance .... And Good Luck with the Challenge ..

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Guest 47yrLowTimer

Personally, I've never been able to get over looking through a tiny window in the floor to see the load. I'll take hanging my head out the door anyday, given a choice.

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Is it a dumb question to ask what you are going to do with it? lots of hot and/or high? Lots of long line? sight seeing? Flying you and the family to the beach house?

 

It's a little ways off...Eagle 407hp?

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Is it a dumb question to ask what you are going to do with it? lots of hot and/or high? Lots of long line? sight seeing? Flying you and the family to the beach house?

 

It's a little ways off...Eagle 407hp?

 

Never thought of that .... Beach House! You mean with things like family, could grab some groceries on the way. Cool.

 

Would like to cover a few bases, drills, hot & high with drills, even a smidge of Corporate.

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I will take the bait and comment. These are my opinions and they will differ from others.

 

I have worked with Astars for as long as I have been in the industry. It is pretty hard to beat a true AS350 B2. Although the B2 will soon (relative term) be obsolete, it will remain to be competitive for many years to come. The B3 will soon be the new "B2" just as the B2 has superseded the BA.

 

There are a couple of things I would like to clear up about your concerns.

 

"AS350B2 - Arriel 1D1 - Not feeling good about many angles to this route. High DOC's, higher fuel burn, limited parts, no spare engines around if need be, and so on ....

Comments please ..."

 

- Higher DOC's? Turbomeca has responded to this issue in competition to the Lycoming. The TBO of the Arriel 1D1 has been raised to 3600 hours (and 7200 for some modules). The issues with the T2 wheel failures are behind us, and we are now seeing post CFR/ post TU 347 disc's that should go to overhaul. This will continue to get better as there is more operational experience is gained. There has never been a failure of the post TU347 disk. Spare engines? spare modules? Why don't you give TMC a call and ask what they have available, I think you will be surprised. There also seems to be a much larger inventory of complete engines. FCU's are of course on the short list, but all manufacturers are short of something. As far as fuel burn, I guess you are right.

 

"AS350SD2 - Popular conversion, LTS 101 700D-2 great engine (so I hear), must use an existing AS350B2. So higher entry cost to start with a B2, retains Eurocopter electrics - not a good thing. Performance increase - maybe - seems to depend on who you talk to.

Comments please ..."

 

Great engine? Maybe, but you should speak to the people that have to keep them running, I have no experience with this engine but anyone I talk to in maintenance is not fond of them. Retaining the EC electronics is not a good thing?? MEB component failures are ULTRA RARE. I have only replaced one component in there. A Z1 card and it was because I couldn't adjust voltage. It was also brand new aircraft. Ask around, I don't think you will hear of many people who have an issue with the EC MEB. Not sure if it changes the system up front, the stock fuse panels are ridiculous. A geneva console is the best solution for that, that is what our aircraft run and I am very pleased with them.

 

"AS350FX2 - Another popular conversion, same LTS 101-700D-2 engine, but conversion can take place to a BA or B2 - Hmmmm, cheaper to convert if using a BA. Electrical upgrade - big time improvement. But, sounds like an ongoing battle with Eurocopter on "Approved" parts and whether they will permit B2 parts on a BA converted machine.

Comments please ....."

 

I would urge you to see what countries accept this STC, this may or may not be an issue for you but some countries do not accept this modification. It limits your ability to sell the aircraft abroad. EC does have many issues with this STC and I wouldn't want to be involved with that. Every part I sent directly to Eurocopter has to be accompanied with a signed statement that the part has never been installed on an FX. That shouldn't give you a warm fuzzy feeling. I realize there are political issues at play but they have some legitimate technical objections that you should speak to them about if you are interested in this route. Eurocopter will be more than happy to talk to you about all of these questions even if you are not interested in a new aircraft. Give Normand a call in the Vancouver office to discuss your questions. They will even be happy to direct you to a good used aircraft that may be for sale commercially or privately.

 

With your list of potential endeavors, I would think a good used B3 would fit the bill nicely. I know that cost is an issue, but if it could work I am sure you would be pleased. If you are entertaining a 407HP, you can certainly look at a B3. Customers are far more pleased with the interior design of the Astar platform. All passengers can easily see out the front of the aircraft etc.

 

I have no experience with the 407 but ANYONE I know that does has little good to say about the aircraft. This is in regards to maintenance of course, I believe that pilots love it.

 

Whirlygig

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From a pilots perspective, and the limited time in a B2 and SD2 (no fx2) that i do have, hot and high might as well go with the LTS. As far as fuel burn really not that much different between the LTS and Arriel.

 

Should give an operator like Sarvair a call, he has operated both for some time

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hi, I have flown all three machines, up to altitudes of 16,000 feet however mostly the B2 and the FX II. out of the three, the B2 is the weakest by far. above 3000 feet the D2 engines pull away with a TQ limit where the B2 starts to NG out. No question the D2 engines are much better. There is talk of governor lag in the FX wich I found not a problem if you be smooth on the collective, never did have any problems at all flying 4 different FX II's.

 

I flew along side a SD2 in a B2 in Revelstoke, he out liffted me with still wells, I had a **** of a time trying to stay equal day after day....hot and high

 

The FXII's that come from a BA conversion, seem to always be very very heavy, almost 3000lbs with lots of bondo. They come with a B3 tail rotor (unlike the SD2's B2 tail rotor). They say it is more efficient however when was the last time you had a problem with a B2 tail rotor..over kill it seems to me. Istrument panel in an FX II is horrible in comparison to eurocopters gauges in B2's and SD2's. The problems with eurocopter's support seem to be getting worse, obviously a huge problem.

 

It seems to me the way to go is a SD2, Eurocopter accepts it and it is way cheaper than an FX II. You get all that performance at a better price. If you convert a BA to a FX then you still have the BA Doors off VNE and the BA ceiling of 16,000, not a big deal but has limitied me before. There are now doublers in the trany deck of the FXII's because they where cracking under the stress of 5512 external load limits of the B2, seems to be fixed but who knows what else may happen. I understand the costs of running are much cheaper than a B2, that in combination with the performance.....it is an easy decision. SD2 all the way! but nothing touches a B3!

 

However I am just a meat servo

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I have mostly B2 experience, with some limited time on FX and SD2.

 

To be honest up front, my personal bias is for the straight Eurocopter B2/B3 versions...

 

Performance wise, I'm told the FX/SD2 are better than a B2 only when high/hot. Alternatively, the B3 will trump them all in any conditions.

 

Maintenance wise, I have a hunch things are going to get worse with support from Turbomeca in the medium term. With the Montreal facility being reduced, turn around times are increasing. One of our FCUs was sent to Brazil (!) because apparently Turbomeca facilities in Canada/USA were swamped.

 

That said, I've not heard the best things about Honeywell either. With more engines being used, initial advantages of the LTS are slipping (parts not as easy to get, overhaul facility has more work) and apparently only one facility (Honeywell) can do overhauls/major repairs, which limits options (?). Overhaul is cheaper than the Arriel, but twice as often. And with a good inlet filter, you will save bigtime $$$ on your Arriel overhaul.

 

I'm personally not convinced about the FX electrical conversion. It might help a tiny bit on the twin-stars, but I've still delt with enough electrical snags on FX's that it felt like simply same sh*t different pile.

 

Talk to the guys at Blackcomb Helicopters. They've dealt with the good, the bad, and the ugly in regards to all the models in question.

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Other than some minor paper work hurdles, the FX issue on components is just a small bump in the road. An expected result when the parent company holds the type certificate and someone makes modifications

 

Its a CYA thing.

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I'd have to assume there must not be enough 206L4 operators available to comment on that bird. I've researched it quite a bit, including with some operators of the type, as well as having the views of some users, and believe it might well be worth your serious consideration.

 

This is not to bad-mouth any of the types you've mentioned, simply to suggest you look closely at the L4. Bell's long-established airframe and it's industry-leading product support are serious considerations, and the L4's 'hot and high' capabilities, even without the high-altitude tail rotor, are impressive, comparatively speaking.

 

Many drillers really do not like the pilot looking through the 'hole in the floor,' and many pilots flying those types will tell you privately it's not highly-favored by them, either, even with the enlarged window.

 

Anyway, I strongly recommend you don't write off the L4 until you've looked at least as closely at it as anything else.

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