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Shrieking Gazelles

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  • Shrieking Gazelles

    This thread is for the appreciation of the SA.341/342 series Gazelle helicopters of which I am an enthusiast.

    Over the years I have collected a considerable amount of material relating to Gazelles, some of which I will be pleased to share here with those who are interested.

    I will be happy to discuss anything relating to the history of the Gazelle (now almost almost 50 years old) as well as anything and everything relating to its operations around the world. I hope to meet other Gazelle enthusiasts along the way!

    Finally, the Gazelle produces a unique sound as a result of a harmonisation which occurs between the fenestron and the main rotor blades. This effect is sometimes known as "shrieking."

  • #2
    To open the discussion I am choosing one of the first civilian Gazelles, an SA.341G c/n 1003 F-OCRX which flew its maiden flight on March 4th 1972. "03" was initially registered to Aerospatiale and then shipped to North America on May 1st of the same year where she became N41776 which was used as a demonstrator.

    It become N68375 then N194VH flying for the Aerospatiale's dealer for North America (Vought Helicopters, Inc.) and finally N341FR with the same owner. This was the first helicopter ever certified by the FAA under Cat1 (single pilot) IFR, ratified by the FAA on 18/8/72.

    On November 6th 1975 N341FR was involved in an accident over Hobby Airport in Houston Texas when she collided with a Beech J35 Bonanza (N8248D) which lost its tail after contacting the Gazelle. "03" went on to land (demonstrating the rugged strength of its composite blades) but sadly two occupants in the Bonanza perished. The Gazelle pilot (Jack Hart) and his passenger were unhurt.

    In 1979 c/n 1003 had another accident when she experienced a hard landing in York and was written off.


    • #3
      Zis, looking forward to seeing some of your Gazelle material and finding-out more about the craft!

      Here is an image I have of a Gazelle used by Sperry in the US as part of the Gazelle's IFR certification. They say the Gazelle was the first single to be certified for IFR operations in the US?

      Sperry Gazelle (unsure of the registration)


      • #4
        On the pic is N341FR c/n 1250.

        Correct, as mentioned previously Gazelle was the first helicopter ever certified under Cat1 IFR. It was c/n 1003 N341ER.


        • #5
          Well that is an accolade for the 'Gaz', to be the first single certified for IFR!

          Here's an illustration which I think was used by Sperry to advertise the avionics available for the Gazelle's 'IFR kit' and showing (just about) their nice play on numbers and letters with the registration .. N341FR .. as you mentioned above!


          • #6
            This white painted is actually silver


            • #7
              And now something different... a postage stamps thematize Gazelle








              ... and two misc:


              Eurocopter's comemorative


              • #8
                Great stuff!

                Someone did once tell me how it is that there are so many countries with stamps sporting images of aircraft which have never graced their skies .. only trouble is I can't recall his explanation!

                Nice to see the Brecqhou Gazelle (second from bottom) which was owned by the late Leonard Matchan.

                The late Leonard Matchan's 75p Brecqhou Island stamp depicting his Gazelle G-BBHU


                • #9
                  Good old BBHU... let's see her "outfits" so far:



                  (this should be photo of G-FDAV, but need to scan the print first )


                  G-NONA (2)



                  • #10
                    Great stuff!

                    Looking forward to seeing FDAV.

                    Am I right in saying that your photo of G-ORGE depicts the only example of Aérospatiale's "Extended Exhaust Kit" ?


                    • #11
                      Probably a misperception... as far as I know, all Gazelle's Exhaust Pipes are in same standard length.

                      Speaking of the detail:

                      French ALAT variant

                      and UK Army's one
                      Last edited by Zishelix; 8th February 2014, 18:49.


                      • md600driver
                        md600driver commented
                        Editing a comment
                        the uk mils first upturned exausts were like the french not covered then they made a small cover then the full big cover
                        i have a spare one in my hanger if anyone wants a cover

                      • Gary Gazelle
                        Gary Gazelle commented
                        Editing a comment
                        They came with the cover but the weight of it made the mounts crack, so if it wasn't on ops, it flew without the cover. The later version took the weight off the engine and made the tail crack instead

                    • #12
                      Ah Zis, you take me far too seriously !!


                      • #13
                        You got me!


                        • #14
                          Ah well, 'twas all in good fun!

                          But, now that you've brought it up .. one has to ask why the British version of the up-turned (anti-heat-seeking) exhaust has that large 'tin' panel atop the tailboom?

                          Personally I prefer the arrangement used by L'armée de Terre (below) as per your ALAT photo:

                          Armée de Terre Gazelle (probably a 342) assigned to operations in Mali


                          • Fabrice
                            Fabrice commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Actually, this picture was taken in Chad, during the EU-led multinational mission in 2008-2009. The copter is indeed a SA 342M1.

                          • Savoia
                            Savoia commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Grazie mille Fabrice!

                        • #15
                          I thought it has something with the force the end of deflector produce when in function (kind of support to relax turbine-exhaust pipe connection), but it's obviously not the reason

                          So the cowlings are for better cooling only
                          Last edited by Zishelix; 13th February 2014, 12:07.


                          • md600driver
                            md600driver commented
                            Editing a comment
                            i got this one for the owner rory it kept his tail boom cleaner

                        • #16
                          Originally posted by Zishelix View Post
                          Kind of support to relax turbine-exhaust pipe connection?
                          Indeed, although I imagine that the bottom of the panel probably requires rubber mounts (or something) to quell the vibration between the exhaust and the tailboom?

                          As you say, not the neatest of designs.


                          • md600driver
                            md600driver commented
                            Editing a comment
                            it is mounted on 2 rails fitted to the tail boom it does not touch the exhaust so vibration is not a problem

                        • #17
                          Speaking of unknown info, for years now I'm looking to find out c/n of this SA.342J

                          Unfortunately, all I have is this small & dull image. I'd say it's F-WTNE (or L) test-ferry reg on the tail boom, but not sure. Any help to reveal ID of this Gazelle will be much apprecited!
                          Last edited by Zishelix; 13th February 2014, 12:19.


                          • #18
                            Could it perhaps be cn: 1186. Began as F-WTNC, then to Chad as TT-OAG then back to France as F-GGKU?


                            • #19
                              Could be.

                              C/n 1186 was originally an SA.341G delivered 1974 to Tchad A.F. as TT-OAG. During 1976 it was returned to SNIAS for upgrade into SA.342 standard (that's probably F-WTNC registration come from) and returned back to Tchad next year. Sold in France 1989 and become F-GGKU to Societe AX Helicoptere. Sadly, "becuse of impossibility to transform it in commercial version", probably dismantled and sold for spare parts.


                              • #20
                                Its hard to be 100% sure because very few aviation authorities have an open archive on aircraft registrations such as the British CAA but, thanks to Jos in Holland (who owns we have access to vast amounts of information. Thank you Jos!

                                However (and as you know) the information does not always corroborate. For instance, F-WTNC is also listed as an AS365N2 cn: 6439 and .. there is also a listing for F-WTNE as a 342J but .. with no serial number or any further details.

                                But, having looked at your photo as closely as possible I think it may indeed be "NC" because if you enlarge the photo you will see that the middle cross-bar of the 'E' (if it was F-WTNE) 'seems' to be missing.

                                ~ ~ ~

                                If you like Gaz's beginning with F-WTN .. then how about "NC's" sister-ship F-WTNV!

                                SA341 Gazelle cn: 1006 F-WTNV. Date and location unknown (Photo: Hélico-Fascination)

                                F-WTNV on-board a ship in Finland c. 1970's (Photo: Hélico-Fascination)


                                • #21
                                  Re F-WTNV, did you know the Netherland Police (Rijkspolitie) considered idea to obtain Gazelles before they bought BO-105s?

                                  And the same machine in different colours

                                  ...before it become F-GAMK.
                                  Last edited by Zishelix; 10th February 2014, 14:48.


                                  • Savoia
                                    Savoia commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    Zis .. there seem to be quite a number of images 'out' on this page?

                                • #22
                                  Great stuff Zis!

                                  I have one more of "NV" although, sadly, it is a Vera Lynn photograph (below):

                                  F-WTNV (not sure where or when .. hence being a Vera Lynn photo)

                                  Originally posted by Zishelix View Post
                                  ​Did you know the Netherland Police (Rijkspolitie) considered idea to obtain Gazelles before they bought BO-105s?
                                  Zis, my condolences. Will you ever be able to forgive them!

                                  Are you able to identify that piece of kit circled above? Don't think I've ever seen something like that on a Gaz. It looks a little bit similar to a gun pod!

                                  Oh, and this has to be asked. What is an Arab Sheikh doing driving a Rijkspolitie Porsche?


                                  • #23
                                    Since it was tested for traffic control role, I assume it's kind of surveillance equipment (probably a camera)


                                    • #24
                                      I-PATT was the first Gazelle in Italy.

                                      Unfortunately, "lived" only for six years. Had accident in February 1981 and w/o.


                                      • #25
                                        Italian Gazelles!

                                        Sadly, Italy is not the place to visit to if you wish to encounter the Gazelle.

                                        Our population over the years has been very small, in fact, you could count them on one hand!

                                        To the best of my knowledge, locally registered examples have included:


                                        All of which are no longer operating here. There may have been one or two more (at most), but these are the ones I know of.

                                        The only locally registered example remaining is I-PNIC and which is even for sale right now. For some reason PNIC is under the 'experimental' category? There have also been one or two foreign registered Gazelles which have flown from time-to-time in different parts of the country including the French registered F-GFCI which still lives here in Milan.

                                        But .. there is a little bit of good news for lovers of Gazelle in Italy .. we have a new Gazelle arriving in 2014 .. ex-German registration. Will keep you posted!

                                        Heliwest Westland SA341G Gazelle I-OLLY in Eliporto di Monza, Settembre 1996 (Photo: Damiano Gualdoni)

                                        I-OLLY was originally operated by Eli Dolomiti (in the late 80's) and later bought by Heliwest and, as can be seen, was a stretched (more legroom) example.


                                        • #26
                                          Maybe there was/is no many Gazelles in Italy, but they're there Btw, you forgot to mention I-ATOM.

                                          Re I-PNIC (fmr I-PJCG), it should be "experimantal" because it's a home made Gazelle!

                                          As far as of your anouncement about some new Gazelles in I-Register, does this gentleman have something with that?

                                          Last edited by Zishelix; 12th February 2014, 09:56.


                                          • #27
                                            Ah well, the problem with atoms is that they are difficult to see!

                                            But yes, you are correct .. and she probably entered the country right after PATT or at around the same time.

                                            Originally posted by Zishelix View Post
                                            As far as of your anouncement about a new Gazelle on the I-register, does this gentleman have something with that?
                                            Lol, Signor Pedersoli (aka Bud Spencer)!

                                            No .. the "new" Gazelle belongs to the same gentleman who owns I-PCET (below):

                                            Sud Aviation SA313 AlouetteII I-PCET at Reggio Emilia Airport on 15th September 2012 (Photo: Davide Olivati)


                                            • #28
                                              Is it possible I-PCET's owner obtained them via Mr. Pedersoli?


                                              • #29
                                                Originally posted by Zishelix View Post
                                                Is it possible I-PCET's owner obtained them via Mr. Pedersoli?
                                                Perhaps, I'm not actually sure.

                                                Italy's two active Gazelles ..

                                                SA341G I-PNIC at Brescia Airport in September 2009 (Photo: Stefano R.)

                                                'Experimental' because he re-assembled it as a non-licensed engineer do you think?

                                                SA341G F-GFCI at Elite Aviation's hangar in Bresso, Milan

                                                Quite why Elite have kept this on the French register .. I do not know !!


                                                • #30
                                                  Originally posted by Zishelix View Post

                                                  Ah ha .. Estepo's Gazelle!

                                                  A clearer shot below: