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Hi there everyone...

 

Simple and easy question.... Anyone have experience in the 355 that can pass on their thoughts? One of my colleagues has found a 1980's 355F1 (6000 hours) for under $750k (US) that he is all excited about. However, the spec sheets from Eurocopter clearly show that the extra engine of the 355 is not all that it is cracked up to be. Slower overall speed, lower I/OGE, and a bit more weight etc etc - not to mention more fuel consumption.

 

It seems to me that the B3 (besides not having that extra engine tagging along for emergencies) has several benefits over the 355F1. Besides the cost of course. However, I would think that the operational costs of a B3 would definitely be less than a 355F1 over the long term.

 

Any thoughts? Thanks!

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An AS355F1 isn't worth your time in the mountians! If your looking for an 355 go for a FX version. You will only get the performance of a the BA from a F1 if you are lucky! You are better off with a F2, or N model. If you go with the F1/F2 you will require the Allison 'enhanced' engines for your C20's, or go for the C20R models. These C20B's will still not give you any Single engine performance unless you are going 60MPH or so. So forget any single engine performance, the 'other' C20 ain't going to take you far!!!!

 

We went through the same process last year. The 355's seem to be a unbelievable bargin, but beware, they are no match for the B3! The older model 355's can be a 'dogs breakfast' for electrical problems, so you almost have to spent the money for the FX conversion for the upgrades!

 

One more thing, remember your training costs, you will require a muti engine PPC now to fly this, as well maintenace training too.

 

Spend your money on a B3, we did, and have no regrets!

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While I have no experience with the B3 I do know a B2 will out perform the 355F1 easily so I expect the B3 would blow a Twinstar away. Regarding costs, you are correct the two C20F's aren't cheap but from my experience it would be pretty close to a wash when compared to an Arriel and at least you can buy parts for a 250. They are cheap to buy because nobody wants them, hmmm must be a reason of some sort. While I'm a staunch twin engine guy, my thoughts are unless you have an operational requirement for a one, an Astar would be the way to go as a 355F1 would likely perform to 350BA standards at best and the Twin is a royal pain in the a** on the maintenance front.

 

Good luck

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The 355 at least has a dual hydraulic system......

 

More seriously, if you are going to look at a 355, the N model is the way to go - a highly underrated machine! (the F2 just has different performance charts from the F1 as far as I can see - I never really understood the difference). It depends what you want it for though - when I was with the fire guys in NB in 2003, they had just done an exercise on comparing machines and they reckoned that the B3, while being a nice machine, wasn't really cost-effective against a B2 unless you had a specific use for it, such as high altitude work.

 

I have always thought that a 355N on the oil patch would make money, despite people bleating that "it doesn't lift anything". Of course it does, but you don't get a machine like that for lifting anyway. For a private/corporate machine, I reckon the F1 would be good enough for light duties. Just don't expect the other engine to take you anywhere on a hot day when you're heavy.

 

The comments above about maintenance and traing apply, and watch out for the electrics! I could do better myself! The 250 engines on the F1/F2 are mounted on a single pinion and I'm sure that can't be good for them in terms of vibration - perhaps an engineer could qualify that. Also, inspect the engine cowlings - there have been many internal modifications over the years that have demanded them being replaced and they don't always fit properly if they haven't been done. Also, the heat from the engines crystallises the material - the engineers at my last place reckoned they needed replacing every 3 years or so, and we were doing 5 hours a day all year round.

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Spent six weeks on an F1 in southern Alberta, terrible helicopter for slinging work.

Electrical problems every second day, the engines are mounted on a single mount so they shake like there's no tomorrow and the seals leak like crazy.

Perfomance in hot weather is pathetic. Don't waste your money unless you only plan on moving a few passengers and little cargo at a time.

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I almost agree completely with T-Rex except for the fact that the F1 isn't worth your time anywhere!!!! With one C-20 offline, the only comforting fact is that you will have one running when you land...........which will be soon!

The FX mod does a real nice job of the electrical, however it won't be a workhorse by any stretch of the imagination. I think the only niche is corporate where 2 stoves are req'd.

I don't know the specs on the N model. I've heard it's a definate improvement over the F1 and F2.

Check out the costs involved to convert a F1 to the F2 or the FX. It's quite a chunk.

My 2 bits, anyway.

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In my defence, I said mountains....

 

The 355 series, F1/F2 seem like a bargin, and probably are, but in comparison to a B3, they don't compare! In the mountians, I would like to see a N or NP model, I am sure they will turn some heads!

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