Sud-Aviation SA315B Lama Airstar Elicotteri I-DENY … smooth hovering while performing maintenance flights from Star Work Sky mainbase in Strevi (AL), May 2017.
17 March 1969 …
48 years ago the Sud-Aviation SA315B Lama made the first flight !
1969: SA315 “LAMA”
In 1968, in response to an invitation for bids from the Indian government, the Helicopter Division decided to combine the airframe of an Alouette II with the dynamic components of the Alouette III. The helicopter performed its first flight on March 17, 1969 with Roland Coffignot and Gérard Boutin at the crew.
It was initially planned to land the helicopter on top of the Himalayas. But authorization could not be obtained, and it was then decided that an attempt would be made to set a world record using the aircraft.
On June 21, 1972, Jean Boulet set the altitude record for all categories combined when he climbed to 12,442 meters. This officially certified record still stands today. The turbine also shut down due to the reduction in power, which means that the Lama also recorded the longest auto-rotation in the history of helicopter flying. Until the Ecureuil B3 came along, the Lama was the king of aerial mountain work thanks to the amazing amount of power it could generate for its weight. A total of 447 Lamas would be delivered by Sud Aviation / Aerospatiale. India also was licensed to manufacture the Lama under the name Cheetah.
Sud-Aviation SA316B Alouette III Elitecnica Italiana I-ELTO … Champoluc (AO), August 1988. Unfortunately this Alouette crashed on date 22 December 2001 at Rocchetta di Vara (SP) – See ASN accident report.