2018 AHS History Calendar

The AHS History Committee is proud to present the 2018 VTOL History Calendar, sponsored by Airbus. Each month is provided here with more information about each of the featured photos. We hope you enjoy the calendar!

The Calendar was mailed to all AHS International members in December. Members can also download a complimentary pdf of the whole calendar by logging into the AHS Online Store.

Check out the historical descriptions in past AHS History Calendars as well: 

2020 History Calendar | 2019 History Calendar | 2017 History Calendar | 2016 History Calendar | 2015 History Calendar | 2014 History Calendar | 2013 History Calendar | 2012 History Calendar


2018 Calendar CoverSud Aviation/Aérospatiale SA.316B Alouette III

Royal Netherlands Air Force/Airbus SA.316B Alouette III over Lake Lucerne, Switzerland

The first Alouette III, the Sud-Est SE.3160 prototype, made its maiden flight on February 28, 1959 piloted by Jean Boulet and Robert Malus. It was designed by the French aircraft manufacturer SNCASE also known as Sud-Est. Production of the SA.316A (by Sud Aviation) began in 1961 with manufacturing continuing until 1968, when it was replaced by the SA.316B, the version shown on the calendar cover. The improved SA.316B made its first flight on June 27, 1968. Production in France by Aérospatiale ceased in the early 1980s but the aircraft continues to be license-built today in India by HAL as the Chetak. License-built versions were also made by IAR Brasov in Romania (as the IAR316), by F+W Emmen in Switzerland, and by Fokker in the Netherlands.

Another variant, with a more powerful turboshaft engine, was produced as the SA.319B Alouette III Astazou. All the Alouette variants were well-known for their exceptional high-altitude performance.

The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) ordered its first Alouette III in 1962 and received its first of 77 SA.316As in 1963.

When painted in the overall royal blue scheme, the RNLAF helicopters were sometimes called “Bluebirds”. They served in the liaison role, provided VIP and photo flights and supported the Royal Family.

The RNLAF retired its last four Alouette III helicopters from operational use on January 1, 2016 after 50+ years of service with some of the aircraft having nearly 10,000 flight hours on the airframes.

The Alouette III retired with a distinguished record of service and as the longest-serving Royal Netherlands Air Force aircraft.

Photo: Dutch Ministry of Defence
Text: Ken Bartie

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2018 History Calendar Index