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Monday, July 1, 2013

Nepal’s Shree Airlines Adds Eurocopter AS350s to Existing Mi-17s

  By Andrew Drwiega

Nepal’s Shree Airlines is set to acquire eight helicopters from Eurocopter to address a variety of missions, including search and rescue (SAR), disaster relief, heli tourism and other aerial missions.

The company, which has been established eight years, claims to be the first to operate a private fleet of five Russian-built Mi-17s. It now believes that the lighter Ecureuil range can further extend the organization’s capabilities.

Having operated its first Eurocopter AS350B3e since February this year, Shree Airlines has purchased a further five AS350B3es and three EC130 T2s. According to Eurocopter, this will make it the biggest Ecureuil fleet operator in South Asia. Deliveries of the new aircraft will begin in early 2014.

Shree Airlines states that safety is one of its key principles, declaring that it has close links with manufacturers and that its spares supplies and maintenance contracts are delivered from authorized international sources.

Back in 2005, a Eurocopter AS350 B3 flown by test pilot Didier Delsalle actually landed on the top of Mount Everest at a height of 8,850 meters (29,035 feet). Even though the aircraft was prepared and lightened for the attempt, it still demonstrated the operational capability of the helicopter. Delsalle quipped after the event that had anything gone wrong with the power on top of Everest, he would have had to manage the longest autorotation in history.

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