February 2014

February 2014Sud Aviation SE 3160 Alouette [Lark] III

In service for over half a century, the Alouette III is a single-engine, light utility helicopter designed for simplicity, ruggedness, and efficiency. The prototype SE-3160 first flew 55 years ago at Bourget airport near Paris on Feb. 28, 1959. It was piloted by famed French test pilot Jean Boulet and flight test engineer Robert Malus. A second prototype landed on Mont-Blanc (4810 meters) in June 1960, then accomplished rotations at above 6000 meters in the Himalayas in November with two passengers, a publicity stunt which attracted international attention.

The Alouette III can be found in every corner of the world having served in military forces of over 70 countries and with many civilian operators. It was marketed and sold in the United States by LTV Aerospace Corp.’s Vought Helicopter division. Around 2,000 examples have been built by France, Switzerland, Romania, and India, where it remains in low rate production.

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2014 History Calendar Index