Eurocopter hands over a fourth new AS350 B3 to Silvercross Helicopters for African Geological and Mining Support Services
Cape Town, September 18, 2008
Eurocopter Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd handed over a brand new AS350 B3 to Cape Town-based Silvercross Helicopters at AAD on September 18th, 2008. The aircraft joins Silvercross’ growing fleet of AS350 B3 ‘Squirrels’ which are used in geological exploration and mining support helicopter services. It is in Eurocopter’s AAD static display alongside another Silvercross-owned Eurocopter machine, an EC120.
Silvercross COO Keith Piggott explained, “The booming African mining sector, driven especially by the surge in demand driven by China and India, has triggered a continent wide scramble for resources, causing major and junior miners to hunt for deposits of virtually every metal and mineral. Silvercross provides helicopter services to geological exploration and mining companies and has launched an expansion programme to meet this rapidly increasing demand. All of the helicopters deployed by us in this mission are AS350 B3s. This is our fourth, and we have two more on order. We are willing to operate anywhere in Africa and we chose ‘Squirrels’ because they enable us to best serve our customers.”
Fabrice Cagnat, CEO of Eurocopter Southern Africa, said, “I am sure the AS350 B3, with its exceptional hot-temperature and high-altitude performance, will match Silvercross’ exacting requirements for a capable, dependable and efficient machines able to operate in remote areas and in extreme climatic and environmental conditions. Where performance and reliability count, this is the helicopter of choice.”
The AS350 B3 is Eurocopter’s top-performing single-engine light helicopter and a strong favourite with Southern African operators including the South African Police Airwing which operates a total of thirteen AS350 B3s. Namibia and Botswana have also selected AS350 B3s to equip their new Police Airwings.
It offers operators greater power, more payload within a wider temperature/altitude envelope, increased sling load capacity (1400 kg at low altitude) and greater cruising speed at maximum weight (140 Kts for a VNE of 155 Kts) than its competitors in the same category. It has a maximum take-off weight of 2,250 kg, and 2,800 kg with external load.
Powering the AS350 B3 is its Turboméca Arriel 2B1 turboshaft engine generating a take-off power of 847 SHP (632 kW). Other features of this remarkable helicopter are its electronic control system and its modernized Vehicle and Engine Multifunction Display (VEMD) instrument panel with a dual color screen. Using symbology similar to traditional indicators, the VEMD shows the main engine and vehicle parameters, as well as a First Limitation Indication. The synthetic display of the information on screen, rounded off with a first limitation audio warning, considerably eases the pilot's work load allowing him or her to concentrate on the mission. This also offers a major safety factor, above all when working with an external load.
Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defence and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approx. 14,000 people. In 2007, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market, with a turnover exceeding 4 billion Euros, orders for 802 new helicopters, and a 53 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. Overall, the Group’s products account for 30 percent of the total world helicopter fleet. Its strong worldwide presence is ensured by its 17 subsidiaries on five continents, along with a dense network of distributors, certified agents and maintenance centres. More than 10,000 Eurocopter helicopters are currently in service with over 2,800 customers in 140 countries. Eurocopter offers the largest civil and military helicopter range in the world.
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