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AS350 CRFT flight testing underway

2nd August 2017 - 11:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


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Vector Aerospace and partner Robertson Fuel Systems (RFS) have completed the first test flight of the crash-resistant fuel tank (CRFT) developed for the Airbus AS350 helicopter family, the company announced on 26 July.

The test was conducted as part of work to certify the retrofittable CRFT with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). An earlier FAA-certified 50ft drop test has already demonstrated the tank’s ability to withstand impact without any leakage, helping to prevent post-crash fires.

The CRFT has been installed on two flight test aircraft, including an AS350 B2 and an AS350 B3, with both undergoing extensive ground-testing activities.

The flight-test programme will continue over the coming weeks with the aim of receiving FAA supplemental type certification later this year.

The CRFT has been jointly developed by RFS and Vector to replace the existing tanks on all AS350 models, including the H125 (AS350 B3e), and EC130 B4. The tank features a crash-resistant fuel bladder and uses a magneto-resistive fuel quality transmitter to keep the tank from being compromised in the event of an accident.

Vector is also working closely with Onboard Systems to incorporate their cargo swing solutions as a compatible option that can be used with the new crash-resistant fuel tank.

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