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Aérospatiale Dauphin

The Aérospatiale SA 360 Dauphin, a French utility helicopter, was powered by a single engine.

Its design drew heavily from the Alouette III, which the Dauphin aimed to replace.

As a result, the Dauphin inherited numerous features from its predecessor, including the four-bladed main rotor and rotor blades.

During the early 1970s, a new helicopter was developed to replace the popular Alouette III and address a gap in the company’s product line.

This helicopter, falling within the six to ten-seat category, performed its maiden flight on 2 June 1972.

The prototypes showcased impressive performance capabilities by setting three world airspeed records for helicopters in the 1,750 kg–3,000 kg class.

Marketed to both civilian and military customers, the Dauphin faced limited market appeal due to its perceived lack of advantages over its predecessor, resulting in poor sales.

After completing only a small number of SA 360 Dauphin helicopters, production was ultimately abandoned.

However, Aérospatiale persevered with the design and went on to develop the Dauphin 2, a twin-engine variant that achieved great commercial success.

This model has been in production for over 40 years. In 1992, Aérospatiale’s helicopter division became part of the Eurocopter consortium, leading to the discontinuation of the Dauphin 2 designation.

Since then, Eurocopter-built examples have been simply known as “Dauphin”.

To differentiate between the original Dauphin and the Dauphin 2, the retronym “Dauphin 1” is sometimes used.



1 or 2


8–9 passengers


13.20 m (43 ft 4 in) including rotor

10.98 m (36 ft) (fuselage length)


3.5 m (11 ft 6 in)

Empty weight

1,580 kg (3,483 lb)

Max take-off weight

3,000 kg (6,614 lb)


1 × Turbomeca Astazou XVIIIA turboshaft,

783 kW (1,050 hp)

Main rotor diameter

11.5 m (37 ft 9 in)

Main rotor area

103.9 m2 (1,118 sq ft)

Blade section

NACA 0012


Cruise speed

274 km/h (170 mph, 148 kn)

Never exceed speed

315 km/h (196 mph, 170 kn)


675 km (419 mi, 364 nmi) (max fuel)

Service ceiling

4,600 m (15,100 ft)

Rate of climb

9 m/s (1,800 ft/min).

Helicopters: An Illustrated History of their Impact-S S McGowen.
How the Helicopter Changed Modern Warfare-W Boyne.
National Air and Space Museum of France.


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