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Business Air News Bulletin
Business Air News Bulletin
The monthly news publication for aviation professionals.
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Me & My Aircraft: AS365 is one of the most successful 'twins' but maintenance support and spares can be an issue
Made in France and flown in France in large numbers: the AS365 Dauphin 2 is one of the most versatile twin turbine helicopters. It can be found in 20 countries around Europe and in the United Arab Emirates.

Made in France and flown in France in large numbers: the AS365 Dauphin 2 is one of the most versatile twin turbine helicopters. It can be found in 20 countries around Europe and in the United Arab Emirates. The largest fleet is with Heli-Union, but Helicopteros SA in Spain, Helimo in Belgium, and Heliportugal also have substantial numbers.

LNT Aviation, whose AS365N1 was used to help preparations for a comeback by UK motor racing driver Nigel Mansell, says that maintenance support and spares can be an issue. The company's Damian Roberts, however, adds that the Leeds-based company is generally satisfied with maintenance.

"The AS365N1 is maintained direct through Eurocopter UK who are slowly appreciating response times and service levels expected from private owners of large helicopters. Maintenance support and the supply of spares can be an issue dependent upon LAE availability and the Eurocopter holiday period."

Roberts is also very satisfied with the "excellent" dispatch reliability and the operating capability. "I am satisfied with the value. The aircraft is becoming more popular for private ownership due to its speed, reliability and comfort afforded at reasonable price.

"The best aspects include the ease of handling and flying, the engine reliability, ride comfort, cabin size, cargo capacity, speed and range. The worst aspects include the cockpit size and Turbomeca's monopoly on engine servicing and provision. We've been forced to go onto PBH to guarantee spares provision."

Roberts says the N3 model overcomes the SE-performance limits of the N1 for UK use but at expense of range. "Fuel tanks that do not restrict cargo hold capacity would be welcome," he adds.

"The 365N1 has proved instrumental in ensuring LNT Group company executives can react promptly in managing various interests. It was used to pick-up Nigel Mansell and his son Greg for an 11 nautical mile trip from their jet to our company headquarters at Garforth. The road trip can take 40 minutes or so and time was of the essence. The two needed to attend a 'seat-fitting' earlier in the year to prepare them for subsequent testing of the Ginetta-Zytek LMP1 Le Mans car."

Mansell, who remains the most successful British Formula One driver of all time and last competed at Grand Prix level in 1995, is being joined for the first time by son Greg and former Le Mans winner, Ginetta chairman Lawrence Tomlinson to compete in the world famous endurance race '1000km of Silverstone'. The team drove the car at the course from 11 to 13 September.

Peter Dahm says Avinco SAM is satisfied with the maintenance support, dispatch reliability, operating capability and value of the AS365 but Marco Besagni of Helico Srl is unhappy with the maintenance support and dispatch reliability. He is, however, satisfied with the operating capability and value.

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