Orlando, FL: Rolls-Royce, the world-leading provider of power systems and services, has reached an agreement with Heli-Lynx Helicopter Services to upgrade Eurocopter AS355 aircraft.
Heli-Lynx, of Ontario, Canada, has received Transport Canada and FAA Supplemental Type Certificate and has begun upgrading the light-twin aircraft with new Rolls-Royce Model 250-C20R turboshaft engines. The new engines are available from Heli-Lynx as part of a valuable package of electrical and airframe upgrades with engine control modifications known as the “355FX” conversion.
Each Model 250-C20R has 450 shaft horsepower and the upgrade will enable a significant increase in allowable gross weight for the helicopters.
The first two aircraft to be upgraded with new engines have been delivered to customers and two additional aircraft are undergoing modifications currently. The worldwide fleet of AS355 helicopters numbers about 600 aircraft.
The overall market for light-twin helicopters is considered strong, especially in Europe. With new production aircraft booked for years, the market for the upgraded AS355 models remains very firm.
Scott Crislip, President Helicopters & Small Gas Turbine Engines for Rolls-Royce, said, “This new agreement enables an important upgrade opportunity for Heli-Lynx customers and AS355 owners. We look forward to providing the power they will need to keep their aircraft flying for years to come.”
Mike Whitter, Heli-Lynx President, said, “The 355FX directly addresses what the industry feels are the requirements in the AS355F series and further highlights its strengths in a VFR multi-mission role. Now being able to offer new Rolls-Royce Model 250-C20R engines to our customers with unsurpassed support and a full manufacturer’s warranty confirms our commitment to our customers and the AS355 Series Aircraft.”
Heli-Lynx is continuing its development of the 355FX program offering 3 models, the 355FX1, 355FX2 and 355FX3. The latter is currently under flight testing to increase the single engine performance and to take advantage of the power and performance increase of the Model 250-C20R engine. This includes developing new single and twin engine flight performance charts that includes a gross weight increase.
Gerard Palmer, General Manager and test pilot for Heli-Lynx, said, “The flight characteristics of the Model 250-C20R power plants are very impressive, the new single engine performance has surprised us all and the overwhelming cooperation and technical support to us from Rolls-Royce has been exceptional, to say the least.”
Heli-Lynx expects to demonstrate the 355FX3 version later this year in Europe and elsewhere around the world.
In total, nearly 30,000 Model 250 engines have been produced, with approximately 16,000 remaining in service. It remains one of the highest-selling engines made by Rolls-Royce.