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The Kenya Police ill-fated AS350 B3e Ecureuil helicopter `Was New And Powerful’

Simon M.Nthei

11/06/2012 3:51 pm

The Kenya Police ill-fated AS350 B3e Ecureuil helicopter `Was New And Powerful'


Aviation experts from France are in the country to aid the local team in unraveling the mystery surrounding the Sunday’s helicopter crash that killed six people, details that have surfaced indicate that the aircraft was barely five months old.

The helicopter tragedy claimed the lives of Internal Security Minister George Saitoti, his assistant Orwa Ojode, their bodyguards Inspector Joshua Tonkei and Sergeant Thomas Murimi.

The pilots of the ill-fated helicopter Nancy Gituanja and Luke Oyugi also perished in the crash.

The Kenya Police Air-Wing is the first African customer for the AS350 B3e, which boasts several enhancements over previous AS350 variants, including an uprated Turbomeca Arriel 2D turbine engine allowing better take-off performances while decreasing maintenance costs, according to heli.com- a site predominantly dedicated to the helicopters detailed history.

“The Kenya Police Air-Wing is expanding its airborne law enforcement and crime prevention unit with the delivery of a Eurocopter AS350 B3e Ecureuil helicopter,” the site further states.

The craft was the cream of the AS350 helicopter variants

The powerful, high-performance AS350 B3e is designed to carry out the most demanding missions in the most extreme weather and geographical conditions. Its exceptional lifting capability, high endurance, extended range and fast cruise speed make the AS350 B3e the leader in its class. The popularity of Eurocopter’s AS350 in a law enforcement role can be attributed to its ability to meet all of a police flying unit forces’ main requirements.

The AS350 B3e is a member of Eurocopter’s rugged and proven Ecureuil family. Some 5,000 Ecureuil have been delivered in 98 countries for some 1,600 operators. These aircraft have cumulated more than 21 million hours. The site reveals.

The AS350 B3 is on record as having climbed to 3,000m / 9,900ft in 2mins 21sec and made a world record landing on Mount Everest.


The manufacturers describe the tendering and procurement process as one that was aboveboard; “Kenya’s selection of the AS350 B3e, which is the enhanced version of Eurocopter’s successful AS350 model, follows an open and competitive tender won earlier this year by Eurocopter Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd, the Group subsidiary in charge of Southern Africa markets.”The site held.

With the above adoration and praise for the helicopter, experts’ job is well cut as they piece together evidences that might lead to the unearthing of actual cause of the crash.


About SG

Secretary general of Chama Cha Mwananchi. This blog www.chamachamwananchi.wordpress.com, is based in Sweden.


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