Airbus AS350 Helicopter Overview:
Not many helicopters can claim to have landed at the peak of Mount Everest. Actually – only a single one can. The AS350 is a workhorse of a helicopter that has been in production continuously since 1975, with almost 4000 currently in service around the world.
Aérospatiale, a French manufacturer of the famed Gazelle light military helicopter, sought to produce a more civil-oriented helicopter in the early 1970s. The new helicopter built upon Aérospatiale’s knowledge from earlier designs while incorporating new techniques for construction and technological advancements, especially in the newly designed three-bladed rotor head.
Two prototypes were initially produced – the AS350B utilized a French-built Turbomeca Arriel engine while the AS350C utilized an American built Lycoming LTS101 engine. The design was known as the Écureiel (French for “squirrel”) except in North America where it was branded as the AStar. Initial deliveries of both B and C models began in 1978, with the C models being sold in North America and the B models across the rest of the world.
Over time, continuous improvements would be brought to the AS350 line while the basic helicopter remained nearly the same. While small improvements continued over time, by far the largest change to the design came with the introduction of the B3 model in 1997 which incorporated digital avionics, a higher power variant of the Arriel engine, and full authority digital engine control (FADEC) to reduce pilot workload. The type notably has a main rotor head that rotates clockwise when seen from above, opposite to many other helicopters.
Aérospatiale themselves would go through a series of mergers and acquisitions. A 1992 merger would lead to the creation of Eurocopter and in 2000 Eurocopter would be absorbed into the European Aeronautic Space and Defense corporation (EADS), which would lead to the 2010 rebranding as Airbus Helicopters. Throughout this, the AS350 line remained relatively unaffected and continued to sell well.
The AS350 line’s performance and flexibility gave it a wide market. It is utilized by dozens of countries around the world for governmental and military uses. Its excellent high altitude performance made it a popular rescue helicopter in mountainous areas. Due to its low operational cost and relatively quiet noise signature both inside and out it has been popular for air tour operators especially in noise-sensitive areas such as the Grand Canyon in the United States. The quick starting abilities of the Arriel engine has proven popular with air ambulance operators including Air Methods, the world’s largest air ambulance operator, which operates 85 AS350s. As a testament to the type, the AS350 remains in production, alongside the tour-specific derivative EC130, more than 40 years after its introduction.
Airbus AS350 Insurance Cost:
Aviation insurance in general, is a very specialized industry and premiums vary depending on make and model of the aircraft, hull value, use of the aircraft, pilot history and qualifications and aircraft insurance rates even take into account the loss history of each specific make and model and the loss history of the aviation industry as a whole.
Airbus AS350 insurance, like all aviation insurance, is broken down into 2 specific coverages. The first is Liability Coverage, which is standard on every aircraft insurance policy and the second is optional hull coverage, which covers damage to the aircraft itself.
Airbus AS350 aviation liability insurance covers damage caused by the aircraft, outside of the aircraft, specifically property damage, bodily injury, and provides for legal defense in the event that the aircraft owner or policyholder is sued.
Aircraft liability insurance is typically offered for Airbus AS350’s in amounts between $1,000,000 and $20,000,000 per occurrence (per incident) and includes coverage for passengers, but typically limits that amount to between $100,000 and $1,000,000 per passenger. Passenger liability coverage is included within the total liability coverage amount.
A real-world example of how this aviation liability coverage would protect you: If, as a result of operating your Airbus AS350 you damaged property or caused bodily injury outside of the aircraft, you would have the full amount of total liability coverage to pay for damages that occurred, less the liability amount paid for passengers inside the aircraft. If the aircraft crashed and you had passengers inside the aircraft that were injured, your insurance policy would pay up to the policy passenger limit for each passenger.
This liability coverage also applies as a bubble that follows the aircraft around. If the aircraft is hangered, liability coverage extends throughout your hangar and it is this coverage that airports will typically require you to have. It’s not a separate insurance policy, it is actually coverage built into your standards airplane insurance policy.
Other liability options: Higher liability coverage on the Airbus AS350 is available to qualified pilots with experience in the make and model and a minimum Commercial/RW/IFR license/Ratings and commercial helicopter uses.
The second coverage on an Airbus AS350 insurance policy is hull coverage and is an optional coverage. Aircraft hull insurance covers damage to the aircraft itself and is an agreed value, not subject to depreciation. Agreed value is decided during the initial insurance quoting process, the aircraft owner requests an insurance quote for his or her Airbus AS350 and requests a quote including hull coverage in the amount of say $2,400,000. Once an aviation insurance company provides a quote, they are agreeing with you that your aircraft is worth $2,400,000
*Insurance companies may place additional stipulations on quotes to prove the value of your aircraft prior to binding, if your agreed value is higher than bluebook.
Most aviation insurance companies do not offer deductibles higher than $0 deductibles, which means in the event of a total loss, if your aircraft was insured for $2,400,000, you would get a straight check for $2,400,000.
Airbus AS350 Insurance Cost Breakdown:
As of January 2021, there are 7 carriers quoting Airbus AS350 insurance in the U.S. We consider qualified pilots to have at least a commercial license, with 2,000 total hours, 1,500 rotor-wing hours and 200 hours in the make/model.
For an annual policy with $1,000,000 in liability only coverage.
Premium range for qualified pilots: $2,500-$4,750 per year.
Premium range for less than qualified pilots (low-time/etc): $3,750-$5,700 per year.
For an annual policy with $1,000,000 in liability coverage and $2,400,000 in hull coverage
Premium range for qualified pilots: $11,000-$18,000 per year.
Premium range for less than qualified pilots (low-time/etc): $20,000-$32,000 per year.
BWI is a family-owned, nationwide insurance brokerage specializing in aviation insurance since 1977. Our dedicated Aviation Insurance Professionals are highly trained, hand-picked and experienced in helping Airbus AS350 owners and operators obtain the very best insurance coverage.
BWI offers comprehensive Airbus AS350 insurance policies for personal, business, charter, industrial aid, and commercial helicopter uses.
For more information or to get an actual Airbus AS350 insurance quote, please fill out a quote request online here or call us at 800.666.4359
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*Always consult your insurance policy for exact coverage specifications, exclusions and details.