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Old 30th May 2000, 14:21   #1 (permalink)
Posts: n/a
Arrow Gazelle: Flying, operating, buying

I would be interested to know peoples' opinions relating to civilian gazelle operations/operating costs. It seems after reading some of the previous published flight tests, the operating / purchase costs are not much higher than the Jetranger. So, why are there so few? Is it due purely to availability or does it involve certification problems to Public cat? Any opinions or ideas would be much appreciated.
Old 31st May 2000, 00:01   #2 (permalink)
Posts: n/a

A friend who operates a Gazelle confirms that the operating costs are little more than a JetRanger.
However, if you are thinking of buying, do some research before buying an ex-military Gazelle. The cost of converting an ex-military machine to Public Transport spec is apparently quite considerable and ultimately means that the ex-military price is not such a bargain as it first appears. (Not so expensive if a Permit to Fly is sufficient for your purposes.)
This is all second-hand so no guarantee as to accuracy. There's a firm at Stapleford airfield which specialises in maintaining the Gazelle. They have a very good reputation, might be worth speaking to them. (Sorry, don't know the name but shouldn't be too difficult for you to find out - Stapleford's not very big.)

The Gazelle is more sensitive on the controls than the JetRanger (Gazelle has a fully articulated head) but it's more fun to throw around. It's also significantly faster in the cruise.
The JetRanger is an excellent limo - the Gazelle is more of a "Porsche". Unlike the Hughes 500,which is also "sporty", the Gazelle gives all passengers (front and back) excellent visibility.
The Gazelle comes in standard and "stretched" versions. Only a few inches more but significantly improves comfort in the back. (I think all/most ex-military machines are standard not stretched.)
It also comes in two engine versions. The more powerful version is not much faster, is less economical (which reduces range) and, in my opinion, is not worth the extra costs involved. The smaller version carries 5 and bags with no problem.
Different considerations might apply if you intend to make regular trips with a full load to high altitude ski resorts!

Hope this is some help to start you off.
Old 31st May 2000, 13:46   #3 (permalink)
Pete O'Tewbe
Posts: n/a

Further to the above, I understand that ex-mil Gazelles will never hold a CofA and will only therefore be flown on a Permit.

Never Pass Gas.....
Old 3rd Jun 2000, 22:10   #4 (permalink)
Posts: n/a

The operation at Stapleford is run by a chap called Martin Wood and they do wonders with the machines, just read the articals in the flyer magazine.
They have an ex AAC instructor.
Al Gwilt doing the conversions and looking after the airtesting.
Give them a ring they might help.(01708-688115)
PS. stay clear of the ex military machines they will not get even a permit to fly!
Old 4th Jan 2001, 02:56   #5 (permalink)
Posts: n/a
Post Civil SA-341G Gazelle operations

Im looking for a SA-341G in the USA and would like to learn as much as possible about the Aircraft.

Such as:

Flying qualities

Operational costs

Any known problems with the drivetrain and airframe.

"Fenstron stall" , what causes it
and how to prevent it.

Id like to talk to any Military or
Civil pilots with hours in the Gazelle
and their opinions about it.

Also would like to talk to any mechanics
who know the Aircraft and have opinions about maintaining it.

Anything else of interest.

Ive heard the Helicopter is very reliable but is very "french" (electrical problems) and might be tough to maintain the SA-341G in the USA.

Thanks for your help.

California USA.

Old 4th Jan 2001, 04:01   #6 (permalink)
Posts: n/a

Hi Larry, I have a relatively low 1500hrs in the 341 and I think it's a great little helicopter. There are plenty of military pilots with more time than me who will be able to offer you the advice you are after.

There was a thread on here not so long ago with reference to fenestron stall which is well worth reading - the long and the short of it is that it does not exist.. Buy one and enjoy it!
Old 4th Jan 2001, 04:30   #7 (permalink)
Cyclic Hotline
Posts: n/a

I think that most commercial operators in North America dumped them once an engine overhaul was required.

The cost of a major repair or overhaul, would fund the purchase of a replacement helicopter.

For this reason, there were a number of "cheap" Gazelle's for sale in North America, requiring motors.

Don't know the current status on them however.
Old 4th Jan 2001, 06:22   #8 (permalink)
Posts: n/a

Cyclic sez:
<I think that most commercial operators in North America dumped them once an engine overhaul was required.>

I don`t think any USA commercial operators
fly the Gazelle any longer. The last one i knew of was operated by CH-2 news in Los Angeles till 1992.It flew everyday so must of been reliable.

Im looking for a Gazelle for personal use only.

<The cost of a major repair or overhaul, would fund the purchase of a replacement helicopter.>

About $200,000 for a overhauled Turbomeca engine is what they told me. The two cleanest Gazelles in the USA are worth about $400,000 with mid-time parts.Both are unavalible at this time.
Ive heard the overhaul and parts prices
have jumped in the last 5 years.

<For this reason, there were a number of "cheap" Gazelle's for sale in North America, requiring motors>.

There are very few Gazelles in any condition
avalible in the USA.And yes the "cheaper" ones are very rough and potential money pits.

Im under the impression the Gazelle is no more to operate than a AS-350B. Its not like the military Gazelles will retire for another 15-20 years so Eurocpter will continue to support them.

And Eurocopter USA told me they can get any part within a week or two (they will come from france). Prices didnt seem outrageous
compared to a AS-350.(and its not cheap !!)
Main blade avalibility are no problem and the fenstron is unlimited life so it shouldnt be a big problem.

Question: If Eurocopter is making parts for the Military Gazelles , can these be bought for Civil versions or do those parts need to be cetified on their own ?

From my info there were 170 Civil SA-341Gs built....a low number compared to the AS-350B
but including the Military versions over 1300 Gazelles were produced. The last was delivered during the late 1980s.

Old 4th Jan 2001, 16:32   #9 (permalink)
Posts: n/a

Hi Larry I have just left the british army after flying them for 8 years without a problem. I believe the MOD are selling some off at the momment. If you need someone one with an FAA commercial to fly them mail me.
Old 4th Jan 2001, 16:48   #10 (permalink)
Posts: n/a

Hi Larry,

I can put you in touch with a guy in the U.K. who will be able to answer any possible questions that you may have on the Gazelle for private / commercial operations.

Mail me direct and I'll pass his details on to you.
Old 5th Jan 2001, 12:06   #11 (permalink)
Posts: n/a

There are 4 Gazelles operating in Canada. You could try getting in touch with one of the following:

Address 582 PANORAMA PL
PARKSVILLE British Columbia
V9P 1A4
Phone: (250)752-0707

BOX 3623
COURTENAY British Columbia
V9N 6Z8
Phone: (250)703-0234

J9L 1N1
Phone: (819)623-4099

BOX 7204
T9N 2H5
Phone: (780)826-3301

One of these guy should be able to help you out with some of your questions.



If you can't stand the heat...

then turn up the airconditioner !!!

[This message has been edited by Randy_g (edited 05 January 2001).]
Old 5th Jan 2001, 17:21   #12 (permalink)
I.P Stop
Posts: n/a

I have no very little exp. on the gazelle( 500hrs) but it seems to me that the general crew room banter is that it is extremely reliable; and I have heard quotes of: "its never had an eng. failure in 20 years"
The British Mil be be flogging off a load soon I'm sure.
Good luck
Old 5th Jan 2001, 18:58   #13 (permalink)
Posts: n/a

Larry - I have 2500+ on Gazelle, Ex-Royal Navy QHI and "Sharks". I can give you a comprehensive run through all the questions you are asking, email me direct and I will put together some info for you.

I have several contacts who are selling these machines and contacts regarding maintaining them. I am also in possession of a full suite of technical notes.

They are superb helicopters, a touch noisy, but an excellent sports machine.

Oh yeah and .......
I have always wanted to visit California!
Old 5th Jan 2001, 19:22   #14 (permalink)
Posts: n/a

It might be worth speaking to Martin Wood M.W.Helicopters. UK 0044 1708 688115
He is now looking after 34 341/342 Gazelles.

Long live the whistling Chicken Leg...
Old 5th Jan 2001, 23:21   #15 (permalink)
Mrs Doris Hot
Posts: n/a

1400 hrs mil Gazelle. one total loss of engine oil, requiring engine shut-down(IMC).One power turbine bearing collapse(on ground before take-off).Otherwise no problems.
Old 25th Apr 2001, 13:07   #16 (permalink)
Posts: n/a
Talking Sale of Gazelle's

Phillips, the auctioneers, are selling off 10 Gazelles, 2 wessex and an assortment of 24 Buldogs plus allsorts of nice bits such as engines and spare, this is happening on the 24th May 2001.All the flying things are on show at RAF Shawbury, Just thought some of you chaps with deep pockets may like to know that!, I would be happy to go halfs at a Gazelle! **
28th April, I now have the official list of A/c and Helio's that are available, if any one wishes to know any more, E mail me, and I'll try to help!, By the way Thank you all for you reply's , esp the picture site.

**After permission from She who shall be obeyed !EK:

[This message has been edited by Vfrpilotpb (edited 25 April 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Vfrpilotpb
(edited 28 April 2001).]

What is SAS( no, not the big hairy type) Stick Augmentation System, app the RAF Gaz have it the Army ones don't, Why, anybody?

[This message has been edited by Vfrpilotpb (edited 30 April 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Vfrpilotpb (edited 30 April 2001).]
Old 25th Apr 2001, 22:32   #17 (permalink)
Posts: n/a

How easy/expensive is it to convert ex mil. Gazelles to Transport (passenger) cat?
Is it just permit to fly at the moment?
Old 26th Apr 2001, 00:16   #18 (permalink)
Fat Freddy's Cat
Posts: n/a

RE: Converting Gazelle (Mil) to CAA Public Transport-Passenger.
Excuse the vagueness of this but I believe there is an operation in the UK which buys up Gazelles and refits and certifies them for public transport. Also then supplying the buyer with service history and POH/Flight Manuals.
I was told this by an ex-mil pilot flying said type Gazelle out of Battersea last year and I think from memory the operator was located northeast of London.
Try contacting Battersea to see who operates the Gazelle (Maroon colour-sorry no reg') Or contact Gatwick for registration and refits of Gazelles. I was also led to believe that the operation will purchase on behalf of a client-so if interested you should track this guy down...hope that helps
Old 26th Apr 2001, 01:04   #19 (permalink)
Posts: n/a

I believe that due to mil using engines of a different mark to the civy ones you will NOT get your Gaz on a C of A unless you obtain a civil certified Astazou (3N?). Mil engines are not certificated, and there are either no civvy Astazous left, or if available cost more than the machine is worth (100K or so!!!)

Last I heard ex Mil Gazelles are destined for Permit to Fly only. Hope I'm wrong!

Anyway, the Gaz is a lousy commercial or charter machine, noisy, cramped & crude inside and desperately expensive to run, DOC said to be same as Twin Squirrel - 'nuff said?
Old 26th Apr 2001, 01:24   #20 (permalink)
Posts: n/a


Be careful with this one. The military Gazelles can be converted to a public cat C of A but it is VERY expensive.

A chap bought 2 A/C 18 months ago and has only just got them a PERMIT let alone anything else.

If anyone is interested in forming a group I would be interested and am fairly happy that the people who put my Wasp on the permit would do the Gazelle as well.

Email me on mark.p.grimshaw@cw.com

If you fly too close to the ground at too slow speed, the earth will rise up and smite thee.

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