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As350B2, Sd2, Or Fx2

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  • 4 years later...

We have operated the SD2's for several years. We were one of the first operators in North America to take delivery. We also operate a dual hydraulics B3 and have operated the FXII.


Obviously neither comes near the B3 on the hook or altitude, but "on the books" the internal load at lower altitudes isn't that impressive. While the dual hydraulics receive the increase in internal gross weight, the aircraft generally weigh in (empty) at around 3000 lbs, while a light Sd2 is 2750-2800 lbs so the internal payloads are similar. Also the C of G envelope becomes "narrower" as it increases, so the B3 requires some ballast in tail in some loading scenarios.


As for FXIi it is a capable aircraft also, but as mentioned "support" is not as good and there are certification issues to consider. Ours was also heavier than our SD2s. Quite frankly I was glad to see it go (mainly because I prefer parity in the fleet).The subtle differences between FXII and SD2 (like flight manual procedures, Gage's etc) led to the increased differences training requirements for pilots.

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Pilot only perspective


I have flown SD 2, FX II and B2 for most of my career.


My personal preference is any of the conversions that utilize the 700. Basically you won't NG out, and it is rare to reach a temp limit. I will admit that those who are used to the B2 don't really like the drooping to much, and the shoulder seasons with the 20-30 degree temperature swings can be annoying, but you just fly it accordingly. I've used it on seismic, and compensating for the droop never seemed to limit my production that I saw. And there are some allowances for engine chip lights as well. Not to mention the power checks allow for trend monitoring. Check the Soloy manual as well, when doing power checks, as you can only chart them within a given range. Gets kind of annoying to fire a couple off in flight at a given limitation and find that they don't chart Yes, the 700 can leak and it's ugly, but if you are 206 literate, then its basically the same.


I prefer the FX II overall as the electrical system is excellent. If you have ever had electrical or avionics "ghosts" like I have, be it generator issues, condensation issues, panel issues, z-card issues etc, and are used to flying older a/c....this is huge. Not to mention, you are no longer scared to use a little extra water to clean your floor when an engineer isn't readily available.

As Free wheel has alluded to, the FX II can outperform the B2,but it can be heavier. But this is all in how you do your conversion. It, and the SD 2 can both be competent 2000 lb lifters, but they have to be in the mid 2700 to mid 2800 to do it with any range, and advertising honesty. And they will lift it with authority under those specs.


Also as Free Wheel has mentioned, training is required, as the FX II does the HYD check at 100%. Yes, it supercedes the original flight manual. Apparently you can get an amendment to it.


One biggy in the FX is the overspeed check. It can shut off the engine. Most guys do it at the end of the flight because the customers get a little antsy when the engine quits. Not to mention the "TEST" switch is right beside the GEN RESET. A little education is a must. Never had it happen in the SD 2 but done a little incorrectly it gets a wonky on the gauges. I highly recommend briefing your TC inspector prior to any ride, and see what he's comfortable with LOL! This little item is one of the finer examples of paper pushing safety engineered stupidity that I have ever seen imho.


The FX II also has some fancy digital gauges that have been known to cause overtemp during a start. It's hard to visually track and get through to your brain, and thusly, the fuel lever if you are not familiar with it. Not to mention the lights are a 1/2 a second behind the numbers so a guy can start tracking the wrong indicator. I always just watched the 100's column. That being said, the light flickering into the yellow or the light hitting the dash in the wrong way can be a bit of pain when long lining. But I have seen an engine that was torn apart after a hot start, and there was no damage.


I don't have the numbers handy, and it might not be a sticking point, but off hand at lower power settings, and playing with the charts a bit at altitude, you can stretch a few more points out of a tank of fuel if you need to as well in the 700 engine.



I have a propensity to find fault with things so take all this with a grain of salt. As with all work, you get what you put into it. So if all you are doing is slapping a new engine in, and putting the amendment in the book, of an overall crappy a/c, you will still have a crappy a/c. But one that has been stripped down, new engine, clean blades, tracked and balanced and rigged right?...FXII/SD II.

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Great post Zazu! On thing freewheel had against the FX2 is subjective. His machine was very heavy. I flew a few this summer that were closer to the 2900 range and had the modern gauges. Way nicer than the digital ones for sure!


I feel that there is less workload with the 700 rather than the b2.

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Yes zazu....execellent post. You elaborated on a few of the differences I was thinking about.


And yes aircraft empty weight is subjective. Still the SD2s we operate (and operated) tend to be in the 2800 lb range (some are heavier as is the case with any type). Still this translates into 100lbs of payload compared to Rotors 2900 lb FXII. If I'm not mistaken the one we operated was a similar empty weight (about 2900)


The dual hydraulic B3 we operate is in the 3000lb EW range.

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