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 Guiana, 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.