Military Users-Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force.
The Aérospatiale SA 360 Dauphin was a single-engine French utility helicopter. Much of its design was originally derived from the Alouette III that the Dauphin had been developed as a successor to, and thus shares many features, such as the rotor blades of its four-bladed main rotor, with this earlier rotorcraft.
The Dauphin featured a fully enclosed cabin while could be provisioned with seating for a maximum of nine passengers.
It was fitted with a fixed tail wheel undercarriage with spatted main wheels; this arrangement was reportedly was a source of difficulties while landing on compact helipads.
One of the Dauphin’s more noticeable innovations over the Alouette III was the adoption of a thirteen-bladed fenestron anti-torque device embedded within its tail.
While the fenestron had been first introduced a few years earlier upon another of Aérospatiale’s rotorcraft, the Gazelle, the Dauphin’s implementation featured considerable refinement over the earlier arrangement, the direction of rotation was reversed so that the blade on the bottom was the advancing blade, the original direction having proved unfavourable when encountering the downwash of the main rotor during early testing of the Dauphin.
Testing demonstrated the fenestron to have clear performance advantages over the conventional tail rotor, leading to it being applied to numerous other rotor craft following the Dauphin as well.
According to aviation author J. Mac McClellan, even in its original guise, the flying qualities of the Dauphin were generally appreciated by pilots.
One small area of criticism was that pilots had to enter and exit the front seats via the main cabin, as the rotorcraft lacked forward crew doors, passengers were also inconvenienced by the presence of a sizable vertical column in the center of the cabin that accommodated the main pushrods.
These shortcomings were addressed in subsequent versions of the twin-engined Dauphin 2.