Aérospatiale Alouette II - Design and Development

Design and Development

Although Sud-Est's previous helicopter design, the SE 3120 Alouette, broke helicopter speed and distance records in July 1953, it was too complex an aircraft to market successfully. With the records falling, the French government started showing interest but with their financial backing the state gave an ultimatum that within 2 years a helicopter had to be in production otherwise all activities around rotary wings would cease. SNCASE came up with 7 turbo-engine helicopters designs: X.310A - X.310G. Earlier Joseph Szydlowski, the founder of Turboméca had successfully managed to develop the Artouste, a 260 hp (190 kW) single shaft turbine engine derived from his Orédon turbine. The X.310G design was chosen and together with the Artouste engine was fast tracked towards production as the SE 3130 Alouette II.

The SE 3130 first flew on 12 March 1955 and within 3 months on 6 June a pre-series Alouette II flown by Jean Boulet set a new helicopter altitude record of 8,209 m (26,926 ft). On 13 June 1958 one, again flown by Boulet, re-took the record, reaching a height of 10,984 m (36,027 ft).

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