Gazelles still leap­ing...

Pilot - - ROTORHEADS -

On 25 April Air­bus He­li­copters cel­e­brated the 50th an­niver­sary of the (for­merly Sud Avi­a­tion/aérospa­tiale) SA340 Gazelle’s maiden flight. De­vel­oped jointly by the French com­pany and the UK’S West­land He­li­copters, it was the first to be equipped with a ‘fen­e­stron’ tail ro­tor, GRP main ro­tor blades, which were de­vel­oped by Bölkow of Ger­many, and the first he­li­copter in the world to be granted US Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion IFR Cat­e­gory I ap­proval, en­abling it to be flown IFR by a sin­gle pi­lot.

Pro­duc­tion SA341 and SA342 Gazelles were man­u­fac­tured in France and the UK — where it served with the Bri­tish Army, RAF, Royal Navy and Royal Marines — and man­u­fac­tured un­der li­cence by SOKO in the for­mer Yu­goslavia and by the Arab Bri­tish He­li­copter Com­pany in Egypt. Of the 1,250-plus pro­duced, about 470 are still in ser­vice in 34 coun­tries world­wide, some 80% with mil­i­tary op­er­a­tors, 100 of those with the French Army. By the 2016 the Gazelle fleet had ac­cu­mu­lated more than seven mil­lion flight hours, the high-time air­frames, both fly­ing in the USA, hav­ing ac­cu­mu­lated 14,200 and 13,100 hours.

Sum­mer of ’67 and first flight for the pro­to­type Gazelle

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.