A specially adapted AS 350 B3 helicopter is expected to arrive at Le Bourget tomorrow - more than a week after it set off on a 24-hour transatlantic flight from New York to Paris.

The Astar helicopter, manufactured by Eurocopter, was taking part in L'Esprit d'Intertechnique, the first non-stop helicopter flight over the North Atlantic.


Piloted by Philippe Boutry and Gerard David, the helicopter left New York at 6pm on 6 June and was expected to land at Le Bourget the next day, just in time for the Paris show.

Unfortunately the helicopter mission had to be aborted after 2,800km (1,500nm) because of a fuel leak in the cockpit.

"It was highly disappointing, but one of those things," says Gerard David. "The only consolation was the fact that we still managed to shatter the original record."

The 6,000km (3,200nm) New York to Paris flight was made possible by an in-flight refuelling system designed and produced by Intertechnique, a French onboard systems manufacturer.

An additional onboard fuel tank doubled the helicopter's normal range and five in-flight refuelling operations were scheduled during the day and night.

"We certainly learned from the experience and will no doubt be planning another trip."

"The helicopter then had to be thoroughly cleaned to remove all the salt."

Source: Flight Daily News