Aircraft Type

(photography credit: Rob McMorris 2019, @RobMcMorrisPhotography on Facebook and @mcmoe on Instagram) 


This aircraft was built as an advancement of the smaller but very successful Aerospatiale SA318C Alouette II. The Alouette II was about the size of the museum’s Bell 47 helicopter, but featured a turbo shaft engine. Its big brother the Alouette III could carry up to seven passengers to the Alouette II’s capacity of three. The Alouette II started in production with the smaller Turbomeca Artouse engine but the later versions had the more powerful Turbomeca Astazou engine. Some earlier versions were also re-equipped with the bigger engine.

The Alouette II was designed to meet both military and civilian requirements with a high altitude capacity. An early Alouette III flew in the Alps and the Himalayas setting many altitude load records at that time (1960). It could carry seven passengers, or two stretchers, or cargo (with the six seats removed). Most of them were also equipped with a cargo hook for moving slung cargo under the aircraft. Many Alouette III helicopters have been flying (and some still fly) for the armed forces of many eastern countries including Portuguese Guinea, Jordan, Turkey, and Malaya.

Because of its ability to fly and carry loads at higher altitudes, the Alouette III was the choice of those who worked in mountainous regions around the world.


The Museum’s Alouette III helicopter was built in France in 1966 and was flown by the Canadian Coast Guard from 1966 to 1990 based out of Victoria, British Columbia. It was donated to the Museum by the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology - Art Smith Aero Centre. In 2018, the Alouette was loaned to the Calgary Public Library and will be on display at the new Seton Library Branch in south Calgary.  

Watch the helicopter being transported to the Calgary Public Library:


  • The 316 prototype first flew on February 28, 1959, while the 319 prototype first flew in March 1967.
  • The Alouette III was built under license in India, Romania, and Switzerland.


  • Rotor diameter of 11.02 metres (36ft 2in)
  • Height of 3 metres (9ft 10in)
  • Length of 10.03 metres (32ft 11in)
  • Maximum speed of 220 km/h (136 mph)
  • Rate of climb of 850 ft/min