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SA330 Puma 55 years ago on this day

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SA330 Puma 55 years ago on this day

Old 15th Apr 2020, 15:30
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SA330 Puma 55 years ago on this day

55 years ago today the Aerospatiale SA330 Puma flew for the first time so here are my photos of both RAF and ALAT Pumas from over the decades be it RIAT, Waddo, Helitech Paris Air Show etc and of course the 🇧🇷 Puma from Helivia Air Taxi (leased by Roberts Aircraft Inc Wyoming) I worked with.

Cheers














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Old 15th Apr 2020, 16:32
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One of my favorite helicopters, flew them in Indonesia and India.
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Old 15th Apr 2020, 16:46
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XW214 - I last flew that one on 31st Jul 1991.

"Those plastic Pumas will never last in service!" Quoted by more than one RAF Wessex pilot. But some of the old HC1s are still going strong, hidden as Mk2s. Not a bad length of service after all! I certainly enjoyed my 2500 hours on the HC1.

It's a shame it took MOD so long to give them the Makila engines they needed from the start, with a 50% power upgrade and lower fuel consumption from the old Turmo IIIC train engines.
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Old 15th Apr 2020, 19:18
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I saw the first 'Super Puma with the Makila engines in 1977. They were fitted to one of the original 330As with the flat UH1 type cockpit. It had the single wheel undercarriage but the fuselage plug was behind the rotor as opposed to the front in the 332 Series.

The HC2 should have had the single wheel undercarriage as well. 900 ft/min capability and as a world authority on heavy landings I can vouch for it.
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Old 16th Apr 2020, 10:50
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SA 330 puma 55 years old today

SA= SUD AVIATION the other lot came later.
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Old 16th Apr 2020, 11:23
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Was on No 4 Puma Course and flew 3000 hrs on them. Went on an exchange tour with the French Air Force flying Alouettes (3 yrs after last flying the Puma). When they found out my experience level, they gave me a 2 hr refresher and told me to get on with it. Didn't know the French Pumas had plastic rotor blades. Came very close to spearing in towards the end of my first downwind quickstop!
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Old 16th Apr 2020, 21:02
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Originally Posted by oldbeefer View Post
Was on No 4 Puma Course and flew 3000 hrs on them. Went on an exchange tour with the French Air Force flying Alouettes (3 yrs after last flying the Puma). When they found out my experience level, they gave me a 2 hr refresher and told me to get on with it. Didn't know the French Pumas had plastic rotor blades. Came very close to spearing in towards the end of my first downwind quickstop!
Yes, the plastic blades transformed the way the old girl flew.
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Old 17th Apr 2020, 10:30
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I left the RAF in 1978 to fly the 330G in the North Sea. At that time the RAF had metal blades and because thier manufacture had ceased they were sourcing blades from anywhere they could. IIRC flights were restricted to one hour before landing to check the BIMS. That meant that to cross the Irish Sea one had to route over Stranraer.

I found that the plastic blades transformed the performance and I wrote a very strong letter to my old Squadron Commander saying so. As a result of this investigations were carried out and it transpired that a set of plastic blades were sitting in a hanger at Boscombe Down awaiting their convenience to be trialled.

The blades were shipped up to Odiham for assessment and the rest is history.

Last edited by Fareastdriver; 27th Jan 2021 at 19:18.
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Old 17th Apr 2020, 15:15
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I was lucky enough to fly the HC1, 330J, 332C, 332L and 332L1.
I loved them all and was never let down. The plastic blade conversion on the HC1 resulted in super-smooth jet-like flight. In time, as the AUW was increased, so too was the level of vibration.
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Old 19th Apr 2020, 16:05
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When I first started working in China the Chinese registered one was calibrated in kilometres for speed and metres for height. China operated that way because all heights were in metres. Once one got used to cruising at 300 indicated the other speeds were simple including m/s on the RCDI.

A later, second hand version that was acquired was calibrated in knots and feet but the mechanical parameters were in p.s.i. instead of bars. I never realised the horrendous pressures that were sculling about.

A beautiful low hours example bought from Samsung was a joy to fly with its full VIP interior but one day a team came out from France: Off came the airstair doors, air conditioning and on went a standard offshore kit.

The last two I flew were very late in the production run and had even more gizmos. The most useful was the automatic beam bar following when doing satnav approach.

As I mentioned somewhere elsewhere I knocked up 12,500hrs on Pumas and I cannot remember a moment of concern.

Last edited by Fareastdriver; 27th Jan 2021 at 19:14.
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Old 27th Jan 2021, 11:42
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Airbus Helicopters Comms here. 50th anniversary of the first Puma handover to the RAF is this Friday, 29 Jan. If anyone has a couple of pix of the day, or closely related, that could be used on social media it would be much appreciated. I understand the Benson community will be celebrating later in the year and they are on the lookout for this kind of material.
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Old 27th Jan 2021, 12:05
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flights were restricted to one hour before landing to check the BIMS. That meant that to cross the Irish Sea one had to route over Rosythe.

Far East
why would you need to route over rosythe to cross the Irish Sea ?
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Old 27th Jan 2021, 13:47
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Originally Posted by md 600 driver View Post
flights were restricted to one hour before landing to check the BIMS. That meant that to cross the Irish Sea one had to route over Rosythe.

Far East
why would you need to route over rosythe to cross the Irish Sea ?
And you didn't question the 125,000 hours he has accumulated
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Old 27th Jan 2021, 13:54
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Originally Posted by Variable Load View Post
And you didn't question the 125,000 hours he has accumulated
I put that down to a typo
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Old 27th Jan 2021, 19:23
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Oops & oops; corrected.
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Old 28th Jan 2021, 08:49
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2500 hrs for me, thoroughly enjoyed my experience.
I just wish that someone had sorted those engines out earlier, we lost too many good people
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Old 29th Jan 2021, 14:53
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RAF receives first two Puma


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Old 29th Jan 2021, 22:53
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Smile A one week wonder

A one week wonder when the german Heeresflieger operated during an exercise in Denmark in 1977. Good old days.

NATO Exercise "Arrow Express" 1977
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Old 29th Jan 2021, 23:34
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33 Sqn aircraft......how come the German insignia?
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Old 30th Jan 2021, 09:58
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IIRC they were zapped.
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