The Aérospatiale SA341G Gazelle is a small single-turbine-engine utility helicopter
that can accommodate up to two crew and three passengers. The Gazelle is operated on transport, scouting and light
attack duties. Development of the SA-341 Gazelle started in 1966 under Sud-Aviation banner as project X 300 to meet a
French army requirement for a light observation helicopter with seating for five people to replace the Alouette II.
Soon afterwards, the name SA 340 was adopted for the project when Sud-Aviation began working on the light observation
helicopter. While in the final design stages the SA 340 attracted British interest as a replacement of the Bell Sioux.
This British interest led to a joint development and production share-out agreement signed on 22 February 1967 and
officially confirmed on 2 April 1968. This share-out agreement was part of the franco-british agreement to licence
production that also included the Puma and Lynx helicopters. The Sud-Aviation SA-341 is the production derivate of
the SA-340, two prototypes of which have been tested. The first SA340 prototype c/n 340-01 had a traditional tail
rotor and performed its first flight with test-registration F-WOFH on 7 April 1967. It was powered by a Turboméca
Aztazou IIN turboshaft and equipped with a new semi-rigid rotor with composite blades developed in a cooperative
effort with Bolköw. The second SA-340 prototype c/n 340-02 featured the 13-blade shrouded anti-torque rotor, the
newly designed 'Fenestron' tail rotor instead of a conventional tail rotor, to be utilised by the SA-341, flew first
with test-registration F-ZWRA on 17 April 1968. Four pre-production SA341s were built, with the first, c/n 314-01 test
flown as F-ZWRH on 2 August 1968. The third pre-production SA341, c/n 341-03, was equipped to British Army requirements,
assembled and tested in France, and then re-assembled by Westland Helicopters Ltd in the UK as the prototype Gazelle AH.1.
As Gazelle AH.1 it was first flown at Yeovil as XW276 on 28 April 1970. As the SA341 Gazelle was interesting for both
the military and civilian market, CofA was requested. On 7 June 1972, National Certification of the Model SA 341 G was
given by the DGAC-F. On 27 April 1976, the more powerful Model SA 342 J was certified by DCAG. Over the years 1775
Gazelle helicopters were built in France by Sud Aviation / Aérospatiale / Eurocopter and under licence by Westland
Helicopters Ltd. in the United Kingdom as the Westland Gazelle; by SOKO in Yugoslavia as the SOKO HO-42 and variants;
and by the Arab British Helicopter Company (ABHCO) in Egypt as the ABHCO SA-342 Gazelle.
On 1 January 1970, Sud-Aviation was merged with a number of other French aerospace companies to form the SNIAS (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.
The 1975-built Aérospatiale SA341G Gazelle 1 s/n 1295 flew first with test-registration F-WKQH. In February 1977,
the Gazelle was registered N47316 in the USA with Aerospatiale Helicopters Corp., Grand Prairie, TX. In April 1977,
registration N47316 was changed to N444JJ and in May 1977, to N44QQ as before with Aerospatiale Helicopters and
finally to N44DQ. As N44DQ, the SA341G Gazelle entered service with San Joaquin Helicopters, Delano, California.
On 18 November 1982, registration N44DQ was cancelled as exported to the UK. On 11 January 1983, the helicopter
was registered G-BKLW in the UK with Helicopter Services, Weston-Super-Mare. On 14 April 1986, the Gazelle was
registered G-MANN with International Trust Corp., Isle of Man. Since, the G-MANN was registered with a number
of privat owners. On 29 October 2004, MW Helicopters at Stapleford Aerodrome, was registered as owner / operator
of the Gazelle G-MANN. On 29 October 2004, the helicopter was registered with Nigel Edward Robert Brunt and on 21
November 2008, the G-MANN returned to MW Helicopters. In 2012, the G-MANN was repainted into a smart black and
silver paint scheme. On 10 July 2014, registration G-MANN was cancelled as exported to Serbia and 23 July 2014,
the Aérospatiale SA341G Gazelle was registered YU-HVZ with Martin Wood helicopters. Although registered in Serbia,
the helicopter was not exported to Serbia but to the Netherlands. Since July 2014, Aérospatiale SA341G Gazelle
YU-HVZ is owned by P. van Zutphen and based at Best in the Netherlands. The helicopter is registered in
Serbia to make it easier to have the maintenance carried out by SOKO. On 25 July 1993, when chartered from
a privat owner in London, a strange incidente with the helicopter was reported: after completion of the pre-flight
checks and briefing the passengers, the helicopter departed for a flight from Islay to Carlisle. Immediately after
take off, the pilot noticed a vibration which he believed to be blade tape becoming detached. He landed the aircraft
immediately and found that the front catch
on the right side of the gearbox cowling was undone and the aft cowling link hinge was broken. The pilot then
fastened the forward catch; made sure the cowling was in its correct position and then continued the flight.
After the completion of this flight, the pilot flew this helicopter to Thruxton airfield, were it was routinely
maintained. Subsequent inspection by the maintenance company revealed that both sides of the cowling were cracked
close to the rear fastening clip. It was also found that the rear end of both cowlings had been abraded at the
sides of the cut-out for the tail rotor inclined drive and that the drive-shaft itself was abraded. The damage
to both the cowling and the drive-shaft were sufficiently severe that all had to be replaced. Although the rear
link hinge was broken, the other hinge and all the clip fasteners were serviceable and in good adjustment. The
loss of the rear link hinge considerably reduces the positive location of the aft end of the cowling, allowing
it to drop down and move laterally. On 20 August 1992, Gazelle G-MANN was seen at Groningen Airport
Eelde in the Netherlands. At that time the helicopter was based at Weston Heliport in London.