Aerospatiale SA-341/342 Gazelle
Aerospatiale’s Gazelle (now Eurocopter’s) holds the distinction for being the first helicopter to showcase the now trademark Fenestron shrouded tail rotor system.
Gazelle are used in personal or corporate transport modes while civil use is very uncommon. Gazelle is used for military throughout the world and a number of armed forced variants exist.
Sud had fashioned the Gazelle as a variant of the Alouette II incorporating design elements such as the Alouette II Astazou's powerplant and transmission system and enclosing the tail rotor within the tail for safety on the ground.
The Gazelle prototype flew for the first time on April 7 1967 and was driven by the Astazou III, which remained as the standard powerplant on the subsequent SA-341 production model which had its maiden flight on August 16 1971.
Similar to the Puma, the Gazelle was built by Westland in England and by Aerospatiale in France as the result of a 1967 agreement.
The civil variant of the Gazelle was called SA-341G and was driven by the Astazou IIIA. It was the first helicopter to get certification for airborne usage under Cat I weather conditions in January 1975, further upgraded to Cat II operations. Stretched Gazelles are in effect Gazelles with their rear fuselage modified to allow an extra 20cm of rear legroom.
Later design elements included the SA-342 (sold from 1977 onwards) with the more powerful Astazou XIV and refined Fenestron design, but resulted in the SA-342J (civil varint) with a 100kg (220lb) increase in payload.
Gazelle was also manufactured by Soko (SA-341H and SA-342L Partizan) in the former Yugoslavia, and 30 SA-342L were assembled by ABHCo in Egypt.
Pictures of Aerospatiale SA-341/342 Gazelle