No announcement yet.

Shrieking Gazelles

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #31
    Nice ones, thnx!

    Re I-PNIC, probably "Experimental' also because it's assembeld of different Gazelles


    • #32
      Ah, you mean a 'Frankenzell' !!

      While we are discussing my home turf we may as well visit neighbouring Malta ..

      41 Commando Royal Marines in Malta

      In 1975 41 Commando RM were based in Malta, and their 'Salerno Flight' was formed with Capt. Rodney Helme RM as the OC (he actually replaced the original OC who was an Army Gunner who was sacked for 'liaising' with a Company Commander's wife ) and Sgt. Blain as one of the pilots. Their Gazelles, 381 and 383, were allocated from the 3 BAS aircraft at Coypool and Lt. Steve Bidmead RM, Lt. Derek Blevins RM and Sgt. Paul Braithwaite RM were tasked with delivering the Gazelles to Malta.

      Derek Blevins writes: "The route we flew was via Le Touquet, Chatauxdun, Lyon, Nice, Pisa, Frosinone, Naples, Catania and Malta, and took from 4th March to 9th March 1975; a total of 15.3 flying hours.

      Lyon was a convenient 'port of call' as Paul Braithwaite's French wife and daughter lived there, and Paul spoke perfect French! He booked us in to a local hotel at short notice, which turned out to be the local brothel! (We didn't get much sleep, but for all the wrong reasons!).

      Apart from a spurious warning caption coming on half-way across the Channel, the Gazelle were trouble free the whole way.

      When approaching Lyon Airport in really bad visibility, a lost private fixed wing aircraft appeared out of the murk, and passed between the two Gazelles!

      When we landed at Naples we were met by a huge black American USAF Cpl. with an equally large Ghetto-Blaster radio on his shoulder playing his favourite 'music'. He asked us if we were 'Up' or 'Down' which seemed pointless as we were obviously 'Down'.

      To humour him we confirmed that we were indeed 'Down', to which he replied "You are Down? So what's up?" UK/USA relations were about to get nasty when we suddenly realised he was just asking if we were 'Serviceable' or 'Unserviceable'.

      The ride into Naples in a USAF pick-up truck was the most dangerous part of the whole trip."

      En route to Malta. This shot is taken over the beach at Salerno, Italy, which was the scene of 41 Commando's great exploits during WWII and the reason why the Flight took the name 'Salerno'

      Arriving in Malta after 15 hours of flight time

      With our great thanks to James Dresner of Flying Marines for his permission to reproduce this material on Aviafora!


      • #33
        Nice finding, thanks for share! Some great photos there


        • #34
          This reminds me of ZB628's accident.

          On the 9th September 1993 three RAF Gazelles departed Frosinone in Italy bound for RAF Shawbury in the UK. While flying off the coast of Imperia the flight encountered a severe rainstorm forcing two of the Gazelles to a beach near Cannes. ZB628 did not make it to shore but instead struck the sea and sank. Her crew and passenger survived and were promptly rescued by the Italian coastguard.

          In 1998 a small fishing boat accidentally hooked ZB628 off the Bordighera coast where it was discovered in a deep ravine. The wreck was then moved to a new location with a depth of 35 meters where it has become a diving attraction.


          • #35
            ZB628 .. in better days.

            RAF SA341D Gazelle HT3 ZB628 at Middle Wallop on 5th July 1984 (Photo: Don Hewins)


            • #36
              After a short break... some of the Gazelle's capabilities:


              • #37
                An old photo from some forgotten war.


                • #38
                  Originally posted by Zishelix View Post
                  An old photo from some forgotten war.
                  Ah yes, the Rhodesian Bush War of 1979-80 aka the 'Second Chimurenga' or the 'Zimbabwe War of Liberation.'

                  Here's a little background info:

                  Operation AGILA took place in Rhodesia (modern day Zimbabwe) in the lead up to the country’s free elections in 1980. After years of a brutal, three-way civil war, it was intended that these elections would give a final, majority verdict on which party would govern Rhodesia after it assumed its independence from British rule. To assist with this process, a multi-national force of British, Australian and New Zealand troops were deployed to the region in a peacekeeping role.

                  The British operation began on 19 December 1979, and 656 Squadron Army Air Corps (656 Sqn AAC) formed part of the 1,500-strong Commonwealth Monitoring Group (CMG) in Rhodesia. They were tasked with setting up of Rendezvous (RV) and Assembly Points (AP) prior to the ceasefire and in preparation for the subsequent elections.

                  After these had been established, 656 Sqn AAC would work with the rest of the CMG to try to keep the peace between the thousands of guerrilla fighters and Rhodesian governmental forces during the ceasefire in the immediate run-up to the elections.

                  656 Sqn AAC was warned about the possibility of the operation on 14 November 1979 and, by 19 December, the Advance Party of three Gazelle and three Scout helicopters had arrived in Rhodesia. By 28 December, the Squadron was at full strength, with six Gazelles and six Scouts ready to be operated by the Squadron’s fourteen pilots. The Squadron’s total commitment of manpower to Rhodesia, including groundcrew, numbered at eighty personnel.

                  The first operational sortie by 656 Sqn AAC was on Christmas Day 1979 and, for the next two weeks, all fourteen pilots were on flying duty every day. As the operation started before any ceasefire came into effect, pilots were constantly under threat of small-arms fire from the ground; to compensate they operated at a height above 2,500 feet. Once the ceasefire was introduced, the threat decreased along with it.

                  The ceasefire between the various guerrilla groups officially began at 00:01 on 29 December 1979, although reports of intimidation tactics and threats of violence would continue to mar the election process. Operation AGILA coincided with the wet season in Rhodesia, the results being that regular heavy tropical thunderstorms led to the sporadic grounding of 656 Sqn AAC throughout the months they served.

                  The daily tasks undertaken by the Squadron were varied, with the mainstay involving the movement of men, materiel and supplies to the APs, as well as liaison sorties for senior members of CMG staff and the Rhodesian Patriotic Front Headquarters. When necessary, the helicopters were employed in casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) duties for the wounded of both the CMG and Rhodesian forces. Indeed, eventually the daily routine would include the delivery of mail and newspapers, as well as medical supplies and an ad-hoc, on-demand doctor service.

                  Originally posted by Zishelix View Post
                  .. some of the Gazelle's capabilities:
                  The 'great' Gazelle demonstrating its diversity!

                  She also did some of this from time-to-time:

                  French Army Gazelle in missile firing tests


                  • #39
                    Not only HOTs, but variety of weapons

                    ... including this

                    and even this


                    • #40
                      Additional advantage of having a Gazelle


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Zishelix View Post
                        Additional advantage of having a Gazelle
                        Indeed. This way when you tell the missus "I'm taking the dog for a walk" she fully understands why its not a 5 minute exercise. The possibilities are endless!

                        More armed Gazelles ..

                        Sadly, no details to accompany this photo.


                        • #42
                          It's one of Ecuadorean SA.342Ls, recently modernized and equipped with Elbit's Toplite EOS (Electro-Optical Surveillance, Observation & Targeting System).


                          • #43

                            Do you know roughly how many they operate?


                            • #44
                              There are 38 Gazelles in Ecuador, all SA.342L version I think. Since the first delivery in 1978 until today, as far as I know at least seven of them were lost due different causes. Also, in July 2010 their Defense Ministry announced that the country intend to buy seven Gazelle helicopters to reinforce the Army’s operations on the border with Colombia. I'm not acquainted that happened yet...


                              • md600driver
                                md600driver commented
                                Editing a comment
                                7 tired ones were sold earlier this year they are bound for south africa

                            • #45
                              So quite a healthy population then for a relatively small nation. Sadly, one of Ecuador's Dhruv's went down today.

                              While on military Gazelles .. this one from Tunisia:

                              Tunisian Gazelle (Photo: O. Lafuma)


                              • #46
                                Sad news, indeed.

                                When you mention Tunisian Gazelles, during 2008 after several months of negotiations, the Aerotec Group (in cooperation with the General Deputy of the French MoD and Eurocopter), signed sale of five SA-341 to Tunisia. These apparates, taken out from the ALAT, were upgraded at their Valence facility. Contract had also included training of the pilots. The Tunisian AF already had six Gazelles and this acquisition almost doubled the size of its Gazelle fleet.
                                I think on the pic you posted is one of that "genuine" ALAT's birds
                                Last edited by Zishelix; 22nd February 2014, 18:04.


                                • #47
                                  Originally posted by Savoia View Post
                                  If you like Gaz's beginning with F-WTN ..

                                  SA341G Gazelle F-WTNA somewhere in France, date unknown (Photo: Sud Aviation Archives)


                                  • #48
                                    Indeed, F-W… as well as F-Z… sequences (btw, test and ferry flights regs: "W" for civil and "Z" for military purposes) are very interesting.

                                    The specific Gazelle (c/n 1001) was the first serially produced SA.341 and used by Aerospatiale as test-bed and demonstrator. It had also been registered as F-WIEP 8/71

                                    and F-WTNA 6/72, later upgraded onto SA.342 standard and got c/n 1185 with the same reg

                                    until 1984 when it was sold to Spain and become EC-DUR

                                    … sadly lost in accident at an private heliport at Malaga 1992.


                                    • #49
                                      Some great background info on the very first Gaz!

                                      In your photo of EC-DUR there are some interesting 'poles' mounted on the skids above the floats, have you any idea what they are?


                                      • #50
                                        Tubular supports for nitrogen cylinders (for inflating the floats)
                                        Last edited by Zishelix; 24th February 2014, 20:49.


                                        • #51
                                          Originally posted by Zishelix View Post
                                          Tubular supports for nitrogen cylinders (for inflating the floats)
                                          Ah ha!

                                          Do you remember this photo?

                                          Bristow Offshore Helicopters Inc. SA341G Gazelle N9003A, Port Arthur, Texas c. early 1980's (Photo: Ken Knight)

                                          'Twas originally posted on some 'other' site .. can't remember the name now!

                                          I see the same arrangement in evidence although here the tubes (at the rear) seem to be mounted above the rear cross-tubes as opposed to beneath them (as on EC-DUR).

                                          So will the nitrogen bottle sit atop these tubes (where the gentleman has his handbag?).


                                          • #52
                                            The bottles are below the tubes, partially covered by the floats (better visible on EC-DUR photo)


                                            • #53
                                              Oh, so they are suspended beneath the tubes, interesting.

                                              Probably answering my own question here but .. it could be that the reason the tubes are above the skid cross-tubes (at the rear) on EC-DUR is because she is wearing high skids.


                                              • #54
                                                Correct, there's a slight difference if mounting emergency floats on high or low skids.


                                                • #55
                                                  Do you remember this from a couple of years back?

                                                  French Air Force owned Service Industriel de l’Aéronautique (SIAé) aeronautics industrial workshop is upgrading undisclosed quantities of Aérospatiale (now EADS Eurocopter) Gazelle light support helicopters in service with the French Army (Armée de Terre) ALAT (Aviation Légère de l’Armée de Terre) light aviation unit.

                                                  The modernization comprises the integration of IFF transponder (Identification Friend or Foe), SIT-ALAT terminal information system, armoured seats from AgustaWestland, NVG (Night Vision Goggles) compatible avionics lightings and a VHF (Very High Frequency) communications system. The integration of SIT-ALAT system is already completed said a source to Defesa Global.

                                                  SIT-ALAT developed by Euroavionics Navigationssysteme GmbH & Co. KG integrates navigation, communication, and tactical information on one high-brightness display to improve tactical and situational awareness, and enhance flight safety.

                                                  ALAT operates several variants of the Gazelle helicopter including the SA 342 L1 AATCP (with MISTRAL fire and forget anti-tank missiles), SA 342 HOT (with HOT air to air missiles), SA 341 CANON (with a 20mm gun pod) and the SA 342 L1 with VIVIANE thermal camera. France uses a number SA 342 L1 Gazelle Viviane helicopters in Afghanistan.

                                                  The cockpit seems quite 'busy' for a Gazelle!


                                                  • #56
                                                    Seems they forgot the Gazelle was designed to be a Light Observation Helicopter


                                                    • #57

                                                      Before we leave cn: 1001 ..

                                                      SA341G Gazelle cn. 1001 F-WTNA (Photo: Sud Aviation Archives)

                                                      That's a fairly distinctive control tower but .. which one!


                                                      • Helipixman
                                                        Helipixman commented
                                                        Editing a comment
                                                        better late than never... it is Orly Airport

                                                      • Savoia
                                                        Savoia commented
                                                        Editing a comment
                                                        Yes, well done Elipix, it is indeed Paris Orly.

                                                    • #58
                                                      The question is beyond my knowledge... passing on


                                                      • #59

                                                        SA341G F-WTNV during load lifting operations c. 1970's
                                                        (Photo: Sud Aviation Archives)


                                                        • #60
                                                          Presenting Gazelle's MEDEVAC capabilities...