The Squirrel HT1 is used by the Defence Helicopter Flying School (DHFS) at RAF Shawbury, in Shropshire, for Single Engine Basic Rotary Wing (SEBRW) training and Single Engine Advanced Rotary Wing (SEARW) training with No 660 and 705 Squadrons.
The DHFS selected the Squirrel helicopter, manufactured by Eurocopter, as a replacement for the Gazelle when the School became operational in 1997, and since that date the 26 aircraft in service have amassed over 100,000 hours flying time between them.
- Engines: Ariel 1D1 gas-turbine engine
- Thrust: 625shp
- Max speed: 155kts
- Length: 12.94m
- Max altitude: 16,000ft
- Span: 10.69m
- Aircrew: 2
Powered by a single Ariel 1D1 gas-turbine engine, which drives a conventional three-blade main rotor and a twin-blade tail rotor, the Squirrel is an ideal platform to teach the rudiments of rotary-wing flying. It has an endurance of three hours, a cruising speed of 115 kts (132mph) and seating for a crew of two and four passengers. The Squirrel can be configured either to meet the demands of SEBRW and SEARW, or to meet any secondary transport or communication tasks.
The initial flying-training course, teaches basic rotary-wing skills and emergency handling, culminating in a first solo and a handling check prior to SEARW training. The SEARW phase of the course, is where basic skills are consolidated and developed into more applied techniques. The syllabus includes non-procedural instrument flying, basic night flying, low-level and formation flying, mountain flying and an introduction to winching for RN students. In addition to DHFS, the Squirrel HT1 is used by the Central Flying School (Helicopter) Squadron at RAF Shawbury for instructor training, and by 670 AAC Squadron, based at Middle Wallop, in Hampshire, for operational training.
A smoothly contoured cabin emphasises the large cabin and cockpit windows (1), the cabin fairs into a tapering boom with a small swept fin above and below the extreme end of the boom. The engine fairing above the cabin has a small frontal area, which becomes deeper and more squared off toward the back (2). The rotor head is prominent and well raised in the centre of this.