I have an ongoing discussion with Didier Delsalle, the pilot who summited Mount Everest with the AS350 B3 in 2005. This is what he had to say about the performance of the chopper so far.
- what was the gross weight of the helicopter for those record flights? Ã° Take-off weight was 1263 kg, landing weight on Everest ~1230 kg.
- how much fuel was on board during the record flights? Ã° I had around 70 to 90 kg of fuel during the landings (fuel flow rate at 29 000 ft in hover was around 70 kg/h
- Do you think it's possible to reach 35350 ft in an AS350 B3, if you overlook
how dangerous that is? Ã° Yes it could be possible, during flight tests the max altitude I climb was 31500 ft PA but it is possible for sure to climb more.
- what is the optimum climb speed and does that change with altitude? => The optimum climb speed is 65 kts â€“ 1kt/1000 PA, minimum is 45 KIAS.
- do you think the Airbus' simulation of tail rotor performance is realistic on
page 7 of this accident data:
Or is there better data somewhere for this? Ã° The simulation seems to me quite reasonable, specifically for the weight of the accident helicopter (2140 kg/4720 lbs) and external condition: 23Â°C/9 000 ft PA (~11 700 ft DA)
- what is the highest altitude you can center the slip ball with full pedal? as
during the simulation I can not center the slip ball at very high altitudes
and the nose of the helicopter starts to very slowly turn to the left. Ã° There should be a problem in the sim model as it has always been possible to fly ball centered at any altitude in cruise mode flight up to the demonstrated 31 500 ft PA. No strange behavior reported on this topic.
You may lack of right pedal power for some reason or the model for pedal power is too demanding: I have been also able to hover at 30 000 ft and been able to perform there a full pedal turn (no wind) on both sides, that was part of the flight tests allowing me to go to Everest.