Designed by Sud-Aviation, who would also work on Concorde, the first Alouette 3 prototype flew at Bourget airport near to Paris in February 1959. A second prototype landed on Mont-Blanc (4810 meters) in June 1960.
The same helicopter then accomplished rotations at above 6000 meters in the Himalayas in November with two passengers and a charge of 250 kg. A publicity stunt which attracted international attention (The EC145, successor to the Alouette for French mountain rescue would touch down on the summit of Everest). The Alouette III entered service with the Securite Civile and PGHM in 1962.
The Alouette III was originally fitted with an 870 horsepower Artouste III B turbine limited to 550 horsepower. This meant that the helicopter could maintain full power to 5000 meters altitude and increased reliability of the motor. This motor was replaced by the Astazou XIV which had a lower fuel consumption. This was fitted as standard from 1973.
The aircraft can carry a pilot and six passengers. The rescue version of the helicopter doesn’t have rear seating which leaves room for a victim on a stretcher (see video). The winch has 40 meters of steel cable and a capacity of 175kg. The aircraft can carry 740kg inside and a further 750kg externally.
The Alouette 3 has a cruising speed of 197 km/h but can reach 220 km/h. It uses 180 liters of fuel per hour. With 575 liters on board it can fly for 2h45 at sea level. It has a climb rate of 4.5 meters/second with a ceiling of 4250 meters.