The FX2 is the big sibling of the FX1, designed for heavy loads and superior performance in hot and high conditions. A favourite in the mining, forestry and oil & gas sectors, it incorporates the same airframe and electrical improvements as the FX1 and mates them with a superb engine in the LTS101-700D-2. The FX2 has the same internal and external gross weights as the AS350 B2, however the Honeywell-powered FX2 delivers additional upside.
The 700D-2 shares many of the 600A-3A’s characteristics, including low maintenance costs and comprehensive support. Coupled with the FX2 platform, it offers better operational margins and lifting capacity than the B2 as both altitude and temperature increase, as shown in the HIGE and HOGE charts. The wide-chord tail rotor, tail boom strake and improved accumulator are designed specifically to complement the 700D-2 in these conditions, giving the pilot a large boost in tail rotor authority at low speed and at gross weight. In addition, the FX2 burns close to 10% less fuel than the B2, not quite the economy of the FX1 but a healthy competitive advantage nonetheless.
The question often arises as to how the FX2 differs from Soloy’s SD2 kit. The FX2 conversion is a comprehensive modification available for multiple AStar platforms, whereas the SD2 is a straight engine switch from Arriel 1D1 to 700D-2, and only available for the B2 platform.
As a result of these improvements, the FX2 is perfectly suited for drill moves, seismic exploration, and forest fires. The benefits are readily apparent, as the Alberta government has shown by awarding the FX2 a higher rate than the B2.