Vector Aerospace's AS350 fuselage
Vector Aerospace is progressing toward supplemental type certification of the Robertson Fuel Systems-developed crash-resistant fuel tank for the Airbus Helicopters AS350B and D variants.
The global provider of maintenance, repair and overhaul services to commercial and military customers, which is exhibiting at booth G80 during Helitech International Oct. 3 to 5 in London, began certification flight tests with Robertson in July of the direct-replacement tank using an AS350B2 and a B3. The tank is designed to prevent post-crash fires by withstanding impact without leaking.
The companies’ development of the tank came amid intensifying focus within the FAA and U.S. congressional representative in the incidence of crew and passenger death and severe injury in otherwise survivable helicopter crashes, particularly ones involving post-crash fires. Air Methods, which had a crew and aircraft involved in a recent accident of that type, is a launch customer of the new tank.
The new tank incorporates multiple safety enhancements and increased fuel capacity and is designed for the AS350B and its B1, B2, B3, BA and D variants, as well as the B4 (or EC130). Vector and Robertson said it also can be used on the H125.