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As 355 F1/f2

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Anyone got any experience operating or piloting the AS 355 F1/F2 as a utility machine? looking for any experienced insights, suggestions, or otherwise. Also any maintenance info. or issues ie: engine(s) / component life times vs. actual useful times before O/H or replacement.


Thanks in advance for any and all response... I hope,





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They are said to run out of puff on a hot day (there's no real difference between the F1/F2 - mostly just different graphs) but I did the 2002 fire season with an F1 in NB and had no real problems. It still took 3 firemen and all their gear in every available hole. If memory serves, you need to be below 2400 kg for Class 1 performance.


The engines being allison can be sent to any bell shop. Dual hydraulic systems, so no belt. Crap electrics, like all eurocopter - take a look at the FX conversion which replaces them, plus a couple of instruments and save around 100 lbs.


I've always felt there's a slot for one on the oil patch.


The N model is a good ship, too.



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No experience with the Arrius engined N models but the 250's in the F/F1/F2 get a real workout, the extra maintenance on them will influence your DOC's. The following comments are based on operation without a particle separator. Premature removals of compressors and turbines will the norm due to erosion wear and high operating temps. Max continuous tq on a 355 equates to a bit more that 100% tq operations in a JetRanger so you'll find power margins can be tight with components that have any time on them. Compressor case halves will go about 700 - 800 hours. Accessory gearboxes will be more problematic than what you might be used to in a JetRanger as well due to the extra power being put through them continuously (much like a 500 or 206L). Run Mobil 254 to avoid premature #5 seal changes and carbon build up in the #6 & 7 bearing area. Turbines with any hours on them wil look like those found in a 206L - burnt 1st stage nozzles and thermally eroded 1st stage wheels (you will be temp limited in the summer). The hydraulic system is an improvement on the Astar as the pumps are gear driven and last what seems like forever. Dual bodied servos are very expensive so make sure you change the fluid/filters often and keep the exposed pistons clean. Heater check valves are flaky and will cause compressor stalls on start. Stock electrical system is a pain in the a**, particularly the regulating system (generates a square wave which renders the ADF useless - not much of an issue these days with GPS - Phoenix Aerospace has a regulator that eliminates this and is very reliable). The insulation displacement connectors used to terminate the entire wiring system is a nightmare as they promote wire breakage - there is a crimped terminal available that is an effective replacement. These comments aren't intended to scare you off but to let you know to expect increased maintenance cost as compared to the Astar. As A.R. commented they do have a small niche in which they can be effective.

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