AN IN-FLIGHT refuelling system for commercial helicopters is to be demonstrated on a transatlantic record attempt due to begin on 6 June. French fuel-systems manufacturer Intertechnique plans to fly a Eurocopter AS350B3 non-stop from New York to Paris, with the 6,000km (3,250nm) flight expected to take about 27h.

The single-turbine aircraft has been modified with an auxiliary fuel tank, to almost double its range, and Intertechnique's helicopter in-flight refuelling system. This consists of a hose reel and transfer pump, and can upload 200litres/ min of fuel via a 13m hose from a portable refuelling unit.

Five refuelling operations are planned during the flight, two from land sites in Canada and three from ocean-going tugs in the Atlantic, with the helicopter expected to be refuelled every 5h, or 1,000km. The refuelling system will be available shortly to extend helicopter range on missions such as offshore support, says Intertechnique.

The first non-stop New York-Paris helicopter flight was made in May 1967, when two US Air Force Sikorsky HH-3Es completed the flight in just under 31h, including 18 in-flight refuelling operations by Lockheed HH-130 tankers.

Source: Flight International