Mile High Helicopters
Historical Links
50th Anniversary Event remembering the first Alouette flight of March 12, 1955!
First HIgh Mountain Rescue (over 4000 meters) on January 3rd, 1957!
The Indian built (latest) model of the Alouette design, called a Cheetah, makes the world's highest landing on May 11th, 2004!
"Alouette & Lama" Website
Alouette II History Site 1
Alouette II History Site 2
Damiano Gualdoni's Alouette II Gallery
Great site to see a full line of Aerospatiales
YouTube video of SA-318 takeoff
Alouette II History Site 3
Gazelle SA-341 "Sports Car" version
Dutch Aviation Site for Alouette II
Flight Dictionary of Alouette II


Manufacturer:  Sud Aviation /
(now Eurocopter)

Prototype First Flown: July 31, 1952
(model 3120)

Alouette II model SE-3130 introduced 1955
and entered into production in 1957

Specifications for the original model SE-3130

Fuel Consumption:
Max Speed (VNE):
Rated Ceiling:
Rotor Diameter:
Gross Weight:
Empty Weight:
Lift Capability:
Artouste II type C-6
400 SHP ("derated")
40 GPH
127 MPH
12,500 Feet
39ft 9in
33ft 5in
288 miles
1 pilot + 4 passengers
3,300 lbs
1,990 lbs
1,310 lbs
Other Alouette II Missions: High altitude rescue, reconnaissance, liaison, and casualty evacuation.

Nepal High Rescue SE-3130
Armament Capabilities: Two wire guided SS-11 air to air missles and two AS-10 or AS-11 anti-tank missles, or a single torpedo, and/or machine gun.

SS-11 Missiles

Everything about Alouette II model SA-318c is better, although airframe and other structural elements remained unchanged. More horsepower, better fuel burn rate, quieter engine, bigger tail rotor blades...

Astazou Engine

Other names and/or licensed versions of this "series" helicopter:

SE-313B & C - Same ship, but "later" model in different configurations

SE-3131, SE-3140 & SE-3150 - Executive models

SA-318C - Same ship with more horsepower (higher altitudes & missle launcher)

"Lark" - American licensed & built version of SE-3130 (was not successful, due to Bell influence)

SE-3180 Executive model Alouette 2 using Alouette 3 engine and drivetrain - not produced - (3180 was actually made in several variations - one being the variation to become SA-318C and the other to become SA-315B (which had two engine variations - both Astazou and Artouste).

Lama - (SA-315B) same ship as 3180 (with three bladed tail rotor) (A3 engine and transmission - France version not mass produced - Brazilian model was more successful using new name)

HKP 2 - SAAB (Swedish) licensed model (only ten built)

Cheetah - India licensed model SA-315B (Lama)

Cheetal - India's latest (& most powerful) model - built from Cheetah (... After 50 years, still the same helicopter!)

Accomplishments of the Alouette II helicopter series (all varients & models):
1952 - World record flight (model SE-3120) of 13hours 56 minutes
1955 - Worlds first production turbine helicopter (SE-3130)
1955 - World record altitude set by Alouette II (SE-3130) at 29,825 feet
1956 - World's first high altitude mountain rescue; over 4000 meters - (SE-3130)
1957 - Vincendon and Henry mountain rescue; over 4000 meters (SE-3130)
1958 - World record altitude set by Alouette II (SE-3130) at 36,036 feet
1963 - Alouette II becomes first commercially operated turbine helicopter in the United States
1972 - World record set (SA-315 Lama) at 40,809 feet - still holds today!
2004 - World record highest landings set (by Cheetah & Cheetal - current India licensed models of SE-3130 helicopter) at 23,240 & then 25,150 feet!
2004 - Two year privately conducted study reveals SE-3130 with Artouste II - C-6 engine historically proven world's (historically) safest helicopter - world wide.
Alouette Articles
The following passage is reprinted here, with permission from the author, who is a former HEER Alouette II military pilot:
Uli Ferner   "In our squadron; Army Aviation Squadron 8, located in Oberschleißheim near Munich, Bavaria. All the birds in the squadron were model SA-318C - as we operated a lot in the Bavarian alps, normally 7000 ft and above. We also had one SE-3130 for training.
   During an exercise with the French Army I took a ride in our SE-3130 up Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe; about 15,000 feet high. It was just like the 3130 you used to have.
   Up to 12,000 foot it was easy, but the last 3,000 feet were a bit slower. Even so, I managed to put the marks of my skids into the snow on the peak, but then I had to hurry up to descend to a lower altitude as I had no oxygen with me...
   It was better in those mountains to be in the SA-318, like the ones you have now, as it burned less fuel and could climb to those heights faster than the SE-3130, but the SE-3130 was still very good at the lower altitudes."
Comments provided by Uli Ferner (in photo above left), former German Army Aviation Squadron 8 Alouette II Pilot.

Uli Ferner in SA-318 on Mont Blanc
This is a photo of Uli in a HEER SA-318 up on Mont Blanc, having also flown the earlier model SE-3130 to the same height.

Alouette FactoryThe Alouette II Turbine Helicopter, model SE-3130, was introduced in 1955, and was originally a French built helicopter, which went into production in 1957.

It was the first production turbine helicopter in history. It has also had one of the longest manufacturing

histories of any aircraft built, in the history of aviation. It was also the first ever commercially operated turbine helicopter in American history!
Because of its rock solid and simple design, three additional countries have held the license rights to its manufacturing over the years, and it is STILL being built to this day in India under a new name (Cheetah), and with upgraded engine and drivetrain (cost $1.4 millionnew).
In 1958, three years after its introduction, the Alouette 2 achieved the world record altitude for helicopters at over 36,036 feet! TheAlouette 2 also has the distinction of being the first ever helicopter to successfully complete a high altitude mountain rescue.
Its prototype (model SE-3120) holds the world record for the longest ever sustained helicopter flight, of 13 hours and 56 minutes.These helicopters have a lot of history!
Alouette FactoryThe SE-3130 helicopter's power plant is a 400 shaft horsepower, Turbomecha Artouste 2 - series C-6 engine (derated from 790 HP). This model engine also has an impressive history all its own. In the history of aviation, no C-6 has ever experienced catastrophic engine failure in flight on any aircraft in its production and service history! The SA-318c has a (not derated) more powerful 512 shaft horsepower Astazou.
Part of the Alouette 2 series of helicopters (known as Lark in the United States), includes it's ugraded sisters the Lama and Cheetah, which support some of the highest weight capacity grosses for any helicopters in their weight class. The highest being the Cheetah & Cheetal (made in India), follwed by the Lama (mainly produced in Brazil), with the original design, Alouette 2 (SA-318), not too far behind.

Combine this with their high altitude flying capabilities (Lama with the record - Cheetah capable of tying or breaking it), it is no wonder why they would be a favorite of over 80 countries, and why they are best known for their role as a mountain rescue craft (the three are used bythe Swiss, Tibetan, Nepalese and Indian governments).

Swiss Rescue Alouette II SE-3130The photo on the left is of an SE-3130 Alouette 2 former Swiss Alp rescue helicopter, when it was just purchased by a friend of ours.

The bottom left is of another Swiss Alp rescue helicopter. We added them here, because there seems to be a dispute (by ignorant US helicopter operators) as to whether or not the original Alouette 2 was (and is) actually used in the same fashion as it's muscular twin sister, the Lama.

Swiss Rescue SE-3130Although the Alouette 3 actually started being made before the SA318 Alouette 2, it was truly a completely different helicopter, with much larger cabin and way more usable power.

They took the complete engine and drivetrain from the Alouette 3, and threw it on the Alouette 2, then added a few frame braces to handle the added stresses, and this is what made up the SE-3180 Alouette 2 Executive model.

BUT, Instead of building it in large numbers (a few did leave Aerospatiale's factory), they licensed it's design out to a third party, and the deal gave it a new name... The Lama.

See a photo of the Alouette 3 following this link:

Also, Aerospatiale, trying to upgrade the "image" of the Alouette 2, made the name differential in the contract deal to make potential new operators think it really was a "new" helicopter, when in truth it was just the same exact helicopter model as the SE-3180 AlouetteII.

How do we know all of this information? Well, in the 18 months of research prior to buying our first Alouette II model SE-3130, we happened to come across an old gentleman who happened to previously work for Aerospatiale in the capacity of development and marketing, and he told us all of this and a whole lot more. Was he wrong? Everything seems to fit the technical history we've uncovered, so we believe him, and put in in here.

The Great Lama Debate...

Technically speaking, the SE-3130 and SA-318C are totally different helicopters, if you follow the mind set of the Lama challengers. We know a Lama is just another Alouette II with a different name on it; they say it's not, and even write nasty emails to us when we say it is. "They" need to do their homework...

SE-3130, SA-318c have different engine and transmissions. The same as in the case of the Lama. They even have different tail rotors, making the SA-318 a more "beefed up" model. But behold, they still call the SA-318 an Alouette II.

Why is it still an "Alouette II" and not something else? Because the Lama was made in Brazil, under a separate license, just as the Cheetah is today in India, and the SA-318c was still made in France. THAT's why.

Aerospatiale DID call it the "SE-3180 Alouette II", only it was just never mass produced in that configuration under that designation... Our advise for the ignorant data police... do your homework!

See a Lama here:

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