I-ORLY was originally registered in Italy during the month of June 1982 and operated by Eli Alpi … this beautiful Sud-Aviation SA315B Lama ( c/n 2627 ) was subsequently operated by Airgreen for several A.I.B. seasons in Sardinia … andsadly, cancelled the 12th Junefrom the Italian Register after 36 years of activity. Thanks to Egidio FERRIGHI for this great image taken at Alà dei Sardi (OT) in September 2013.
Celebrating one of Airbus Helicopters’ most recognizable innovations
Continues to set new standards with the H160
Marignane, 12 April 2018 – On the 12th of April 1968, the first Fenestron took to the skies on the second prototype of the Gazelle. It has since become emblematic of Sud Aviation, Aerospatiale, Eurocopter and now Airbus helicopters with the H160 carrying this sound-reducing, safety-enhancing technology into the next generation of rotorcraft. The idea behind shrouding the tail rotor was initially developed to provide additional safeguards for workers on the ground but also to protect the tail rotor in forward flight and in complicated operational environments, such as working around high-voltage power lines. Sound reduction benefits followed after much research and optimisation from one generation of the Fenestron to the next. Originally called the “Fenestrou”, which is Provençal for “little window”, the term evolved into the renowned Fenestron. It was first certified on the Gazelle in 1972 and then subsequently integrated into the first single-engine Dauphin prototype, whose first flight was in June 1972. Trials were then conducted with a seven-tonne Puma in 1975, however, with its diameter of 1m60 and its 11 tail rotor blades it required too much power for the Fenestron to bring an operational advantage on this class of helicopters. The second generation came at the end of the 1970’s with an all-composite Fenestron, which increased the diameter of the new Dauphin’s Fenestron by 20% up to 1m10. This improvement was motivated by the U.S. Coast Guards’ requirement for a highly manoeuvrable aircraft for Search and Rescue operations. The U.S. Coast Guards aircraft are still in service today and have accumulated more than 1.5 million flight hours. In the meantime, research continued to optimise the shape of the Fenestron, blade foils, and to improve sound reduction, especially during certain phases of flight. Between 1987 and 1991 it was successfully tested on an Ecureuil, the prototype of which is still on display at the entrance to Airbus Helicopters’ headquarters in Marignane. In 1994, the 3rd generation was fitted onto the H135 and optimized sound levels by using an uneven setting of the blades. In 1999 the H130 performed its maiden flight with a Fenestron derived from this version. The H145 followed suit in 2010. 50 years on, the H160 possesses the latest and largest Fenestron to be built on an Airbus helicopter with a diameter of 1m20. The fact that it is canted to 12° allows for improved performance with an additional payload and increased stability especially at low speed. With the H160 out to conquer the medium twin market, the Fenestron will be one of Airbus Helicopters’ signatures in the skies for decades to come.
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 SA318C Alouette II Astazou Sky West Aviation N318FB … Costigliole d’Asti (AT), February 2017. Thanks to Fabio BALDI for the images of this extremely elegant Alouette II, previously operated in Italy as F-GDUN.