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SA.316B Alouette III

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Aérospatiale SA365 C
F-GHCK Aérospatiale SA360 C Dauphin c/n 1025 - UP - Toussus-le-Noble aerodrome near Paris, France - 10 August 1988 Toussus-le-Noble (LFPN)

The Aérospatiale SA.360C Dauphin is a single engine medium-weight transport helicopter for up to two crew and eight passengers powered by a Turboméca Astazou XVIIIA Turbine engine. Development of the single-engine SA.360 started under the Sud-Aviation banner as a replacement of the Alouette III, and was to be called the "Business Alouette". The aircraft featured a four-bladed main rotor and a thirteen-bladed fenestron in the tail. It was fitted with fixed, tailwheel undercarriage with spatted mainwheels. The fuel tank was meant to go in the rear of a relatively small cabin before the idea arose to place the fuel tanks in the lower structure, thus increasing the cabin size. On 2 June 1972, the SA.360 prototype, c/n 001 F-WQSL, flew first. By its maiden flight the SA.360 was fitted with one 980 hp Turboméca Astazou XVI turboshaft. On 29 January 1973, the second SA.360 prototype, the SA360 c/n 002 F-WSQX flew first. As a result of the evaluation of the test flights, a number of modifications were incorporated into the design. These included increased engine power by use of an 1050 hp Turboméca Astazou XVIIIA turboshaft, and replacement of the original rotor blades with composite plastic blades. S.N.I.A.S. engineers hoped to reduce vibration and ground resonance. On 4 May 1973, the modified SA.360 c/n 001 was flown first as a SA.360 A. In 1974, production commenced with the SA.360 C, with the first production SA.360 C flying in April 1975. DGAC France Type Certificate No. 80 was received on 18 December 1975 and customer deliveries of the SA360 C started in January 1976. With customer deliveries running. S.N.I.A.S. SA360 C c/n 1001 was modified into a SA360 A navalised version for tests with Marine Nationale and this SA360 A was a period operated by Aéronavale Flotille 35F. The SA360C c/n 1003 and c/n 1012 were modified into the SA361H military version of the Dauphin (is civil equivalent being the SA361F). The SA361H was an overpowered version of the SA360, intended specifically for hot- and-high operating conditions, powered by an 1300 hp Turboméca Astazou XX turboshaft. The SA361H flew first on 12 July 1976. Airframe c/n 1012 was further modified by Aérospatiale for the military market into the SA361HCL (Hélicoptère de Combat Léger) version. The main differences were the use of a 1400 hp Astazou XXB engine and the Starflex rotorhead that had been developed for the Ecureuil. In 1978, production of the SA360 was terminated for lack of orders with only two prototypes and thirty-four production aircraft of the SA360 C Dauphin built. The lack of orders was actually caused by the introduction of the twin-engined SA 365C Dauphin II.

On 1 January 1970, Sud-Aviation was merged with a number of other French aerospace companies to form the S.N.I.A.S. (Société Nationale Industrielle Aérospatiale). From 1984, SNIAS operated under the name of Aérospatiale. The helicopter divisions of MBB from Germany and Aerospatiale from France merged in January 1992 to form the Eurocopter Group. As a result of the merger between the Eurocopter parents Aérospatiale-Matra; DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (DASA) and Construcciones Aeronàuticas Sociedad Anonima (CASA) in July 2000, the Eurocopter group became a division of the new formed EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space company). Taking off into 2014, EADS was rebranded as "Airbus Group". Uniting all its activities under a single brand, its helicopter division Eurocopter was rebranded as Airbus Helicopters on 8 January 2014.

In 1977, the S.N.I.A.S. SA360 C c/n 1025 was test flown with test registration F-WXFA. In 1980, the aircraft was registered N3597C in the USA as an Aérospatiale SA-360C Dauphin. In September 1980, the SA360 C was re-registered N213EH with New York Helicopters. In service with New York Helicopters, the Dauphin was equipped with a number of emergency floats, what wasn't easy with its tricycle gear. On 1 February 1982, the aircraft was damaged in an accident at Hitchocock, but returned in service after repair. On 3 June 1988, registration N213EH was cancelled as exported to France. On 18 April 1988, registration F-GHCK was reserved by Artemis Aviation for the SA360 C Dauphin. On 28 July 1988, the Aérospatiale AS360 C Dauphin was registered F-GHCK with SA Professionnel Air System (UP), Paris. On 6 December 1995, the 1977-built SA360 C Dauphin F-GHCK was registered with Hélifrance SA, Paris. On 29 January 1996, the aircraft was registered with Sarl HELIGATOR, Paris, as operator and BNP Bail SA. Paris, as owner. From September 1997, the Dauphin F-GHCK was operated by Héli-Inter SA. On 10 October 1997, Aérospatiale SA.360 C Dauphin F-GHCK was damaged beyond repair in a fatal crash when it ditched into the sea during the landing at Monaco heliport. In 2002, the fuselage of the helicopter was presented to the Lycée Aero de Grenoble, but it ended first in a barn in the mountains, the famous aviation museum barn Tarentaise, to prevent it for scrapping. On 10 August 1988, Aérospatiale SA360 C F-GHCK was seen at Toussus-le-Noble Airport in the basic red New York Helicopters colors.

page last updated: 06-02-2015
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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