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JOESOAP's Guide to Flying the Alouette 3

This is intended as a basic guide for the Alouette III. As with other parts of this website, it is a work in progress. Check all information before using for planning purposes.


Now this was a classic design. A rugged workhorse with good hot-and-high performance that can take pilot and 6 passengers.

The Alouette III was designed as a follow up to the Alouette II, but incorporating a bigger engine, bigger cabin and increase of speed due to less drag from the tail section.

There are 2 models of Alouette III - the SA316B with an Turbomeca Artouste 3B engine and the SA319B with a Turbomeca Astazou engine.....

The Alouette has 3 main blades attached to a fully articulated main rotor head and 3 tail rotor blades. Rotor diameter is 36 feet.

A unique feature of the Alouette III is the clutch system. It is possible to have the engine running, but the blades stopped. This may seem like a strange idea, but it is extremely practical as a safety feature ... allowing loading and unloading without the danger of someone walking into the blades.

The SA316's Artouste engine produces 890 SHP, derated to 650 SHP, which is why it is able to perform so well at altitude.

Weight and balance

Max weight for the Alo 3 is 4630 lbs.

Basic weight for most is around 2600 lbs, so if you have a full load of passengers (1400 lbs including pilot), that allows for 630 lbs of fuel or around 1.5 hours endurance with reserve. Fuel burn is approxiamtely 360 lbs per hour at sea level (one 44 gallon drum per hour - very handy)

Another very useful feature of the Alouette III of course are the wheels. If you are operating from an airfield or where there is space, it becomes almost a non-event to get airborne when heavy, as you can do a rolling take-off.

Preflight and Start

IMPORTANT. When you preflight, untie the blades (obviously) and make sure one is in the front. When you get into the aircraft before start, check the controls and look at the blades for movement. If you have positioned them properly, you will have one in front of you, and be able to see all three.

Starting the engine is fairly simple. First off, make sure the fuel flow lever is fully back. If it is even slightly off the rear stop, there is a chance you will have starting problems. Go through the checks and make sure the rotor brake is on. Check the T.O.T is less than 150C ,then, switch on the fuel boost pump, wait a few seconds and select the start switch to "start". You should get a green light, followed by a yellow light, TOT rise, yellow light out and then green light out through around 13000 rpm. If you get a red light, it is a failed start.

Once the engine is running, you will need to engage the clutch. There is a technique to this, that really needs to be practised to get right. Firstly, there is a clutch engagement time (25-45 seconds). This is important, as too slow or too fast an engagement will damage the clutch. To engage the clutch, first disengage the rotor brake. Then, VERY slowly, move the fuel flow lever forward. When the blades start to turn, start the stopwatch and move the fuel flow lever forward another half inch or so. Monitor the N2 and Nr needles and increase the fuel flow slightly if they are coming together too fast, retard the fuel flow lever slightly if they are not joining fast enough. Once the needles are together, advance the fuel flow gently to the fully open position.


Once the blades are at full rpm, you will want to do normal after start checks ... check all instruments, radios, temps and pressures, radio calls, etc. If you are going to ground taxi to your take-off position, then release the brakes by depressing and twisting the brake lever a half turn. Apply a small amount of power and a small amount of forward cyclic. After enough is applied and the aircraft has started moving, you can check brake application by levelling the disk, lowering the collective and pulling up on the hand-brake mechanism. Correctly set brakes require approximately one and a half pulls from zero to full application. Release brakes again and taxi to your take-off position by application of a small amount of collective pitch and forward tilting of the rotor disk.

Lifting into the hover and transition to forward flight

The Alouette III can be quite tricky to hover at first. The key is to do things slowly. Move the cyclic back and right an inch or two, and apply right pedal as you apply power. Depending on aircraft weight and density altitude, you can expect to hover at anything from .6 to .92. The expected IGE hover power can be calculated by using the power calculator on the outer scale of the gauge.

MORE LATER ....................


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