Wednesday, 22 February 2012


Aerospatiale AS 355F1 Twin Star Ecureuil ZK-IAV (c/n 5041) was captured in action at Bob's Peak on the Skyline Gondola at Queenstown on 20-02-2012 by Paul Howard via Jean 210.
This airframe was unloaded from its container at the Heli Maintenance hangar at Christchurch back in early July 2006 marked as N117BF. This AS 355E Twin Star was first noted as N5786Z late in 1981 before being quickly re registered as N117BF. It was flown briefly (57 hours) in and around the Miami area by its owner before he was imprisoned with the helicopter being put into long term storage and later inhibited. The owner, rumoured to be a senior drug cartel boss, died after 24 years in prison. Ownership changed to Philip R Agnes Inc of Wilmington, Delaware on 27-09-2004 and was cancelled on 20-02-2007 for its transfer to the NZ.
From Christchurch the helicopter was freighted to Timaru for its NZ certification. 
During this process it was fully refurbished and re-sprayed as well as being upgraded to a full AS 355F1 specification. So it now enjoys dual hydraulics and electrics, retaining its original C20F engines with TTSN of 57.0 hrs; then to nil hours safter a full overhaul and up to date on all ad’s and service bulletins. The same applies to Main transmission, tail rotor gearbox and airframe. Also a left hand sliding door has been added as well as EMS provisions (for stretcher etc). 
It was registered as ZK-IAV to AV8 Helicopters on 22-03-2007, and operated from their Wellington airport base until it was damaged on 12-04-2008.
It was returned to good health by Oceania Aviation Ltd at Ardmore and registered to them on 02-11-2008 and joined The Helicopter Line at Queenstown on 13-08-2010.
Above we have a view of it taken at Wellington Airport on 30-11-2007 in the AV8 Helicopter scheme.

1 comment:

  1. More information about IAV's Wellington incident here

    and here (look in the Jack Stall article)