Aérospatiale Gazelle 50th Anniversary Fly-in


To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Gazelle a fly-in organised by threshold.aero was held at AAC Middle Wallop Hampshire the home of Army Aviation in the United Kingdom.

Eighteen Gazelle were gathered at Middle Wallop of various marks both military and civil with most notably two variants from the French Army on display. As the main role of the Gazelle in military service was that of communication and light attack the organisers also invited a gathering of Taylorcraft Auster fixed wing aircraft. The Auster preceded the Gazelle into service with the Army Air Corp up to the mid-1960s as airborne observation posts (AOP). Also in attendance were various other civilian helicopters and auto gyros.


 G-GAZA Aerospatiale SA.341G Gazelle                                                                          N901B Aerospatiale SA.341G Gazelle


4072 GBI Aerospatiale SA.342M Gazelle                                                                       G-CDNO Westland WA.341 Gazelle AH.1 



On 7th April 1967 the Aérospatiale SA340 Gazelle took its first flight under the controls of test pilot Jean Boulet. Initially the SA340 was fitted with a conventional tail rotor as fitted to the Alouette II but this was soon replaced on the second prototype with the now familiar Fenestron ducted fan tail rotor.

With around 1,775 airframes produced between 1967 and 1996 the Gazelle has seen service with both Military and Civilian customers.


Gazelles in service with UK armed forces

In 1973 an order was placed for 142 airframes by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence MoD with the first entering service with the Army Air Corp (AAC) in July 1974, Royal Air Force (RAF) in August 1974 and Royal Navy (RN) in December 1974 with many of the airframes built by Westland Helicopters under licence from Aérospatiale.


ZB692 Westland WA.341 Gazelle AH.1                                                                  ZB627 (G-CBSK) Westland WA.341 Gazelle HT. 

By December 2016 the numbers of Gazelle still in service with the MoD has reduced down to 36 airframes, with many of the retired Gazelle passing into civilian ownership. Of the 36 airframes in MoD service it is reported that 18 are active at any one time with the rest undergoing maintainance.

The remaining Airframes are in use with 5 Regiment AAC in Northern Ireland, 9 Regiment AAC AAC Middle Wallop and BATUS Suffield Canada as well as Empire Test Pilots School RAF Boscombe Down. It is intended to keep the Gazelle in service until 2025 so making it the longest serving helicopter with the British Armed Forces.

Gazelle attending the Gazelle 50 fly-in

4072 GBI Aerospatiale SA.342M Gazelle French Army

4207 GEC Aerospatiale SA.342L1 Gazelle French Army

ZB627 (G-CBSK) Westland WA.341 Gazelle HT.3

G-CBGZ Westland WA.341 Gazelle HT.2

G-CDNO Westland WA.341 Gazelle AH.1

G-CTFS Westland WA.341 Gazelle HT.2

G-GAZA Aerospatiale SA.341G Gazelle

XX436 (G-ZZLE) Westland WA.341 Gazelle HT.2

G-SIVJ Westland WA.341 Gazelle HT.2

N341AS Aerospatiale SA.341G Gazelle

N505HA Aerospatiale SA.341G Gazelle

N901B Aerospatiale SA.341G Gazelle

XX405 Westland WA.341 Gazelle AH.1

XZ320 Westland WA.341 Gazelle AH.1

ZB692 Westland WA.341 Gazelle AH.1

YU-HEY Aerospatiale SA.341G Gazelle

YU-HPZ Aerospatiale SA.342J Gazelle










G-CTFS Westland WA.341 Gazelle HT.2

YU-HPZ Aerospatiale SA.342J Gazelle

Other Aircraft attending the Gazelle 50 fly-in

TJ534 (G-ANIE) Taylorcraft Auster AOP.V

TW467 (G-ANIE) Taylorcraft Auster AOP.V

TW511 (G-APAF) Auster 5A

XW635 (G-AWSW) Beagle Auster D.5 194 Husky

XR267 (G-BJXR) Auster AOP.9

WZ662 (G-BKVK) Auster AOP.9

NX534 (G-BUDL) Taylorcraft Auster AOP.III

WZ706 (G-BURR) Auster AOP.9

XP241 (G-CEHR) Auster AOP.9

G-CBNX Montgomerie Bensen B-8MR

G-HUEZ Hughes 369E (MD-500E)

G-KETH Agusta Bell 206B JetRanger II

G-MARL AutoGyro Europe/Rotorsport

G-PERT Eurocopter EC130 T2

G-ROYM Robinson R44 Raven II

G-SARO Saunders Roe Skeeter AOP







A full set of photos from Gazelle 50 can be found here: Gazelle 50 Fly-in



















XR267 (G-BJXR) Auster AOP.9

NX534 (G-BUDL) Taylorcraft Auster AOP.II