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Researching History of Aerospatiale & MBB Helicopters in North America - 1958-1985


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I'm writing a history presentation for the upcoming Vertical Flight Society (www.vtol.org) Forum 78 in May 2022 on the early history of Aerospatiale (Sud Aviation) and MBB Helicopters in North America and would like to interview helicopter industry pioneers who can help with my research.

If you have first hand knowledge as a OEM employee, salesman, pilot, aircraft maintenance engineer, MRO, instructor, regulator, operator, owner, customer etc., please contact me at kennethswartz "at" me.com

Here is an overview of the story I'm trying to research over the next two months. 

Sud Aviation brought the first turbine SE3130 Alouette IIs to North America in the late 1950s for demonstration to the US military, then in 1958 signed a licence agreement with Republic Aviation on Long Island, NY to sell the Alouette II in the US and Canada. The very first sale of a turbine helicopter in North America went to Autair Helicopters in Montreal, Quebec followed by a number of US operators and then Ontario Hydro in 1959.

I understand that Alouette II sales dried up and product support collapsed in the early 1960s and most of the remaining Alouette were bought by Bullock Wings & Rotors in Calgary, which also held the Alouette II sales agency in the late 1960s.

To jump start sales in Canada, in about 1966 Sud Aviation brought an Alouette II and Alouette III to North America in a Nord Noratlas cargo aircraft and made multiple stops across Canada to demonstrate the helicopters, selling three to the Department of Transport and some to Spartan and Skyrotors??. And in 1966, a French Alouette II was imported to film the movie "Helicopter Canada" screened at Expo 67 in Montreal.

However, there were very few additional sales until Vought Helicopters in Texas obtains the distribution rights for the Aerospatiale line for the US and Canada in the late 1960s. That's when sales of the Alouette II and III, Lama, Gazelle, SA330 Puma etc. really pick up and Aerospaitiale eventually takes over the Vought's operation in Texas and builds a facility in Grand Prairie. This is when French helicopters re-appear in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, and help launch US EMS programs. 

The MBB story in North America starts in the early 1970s (?) when Boeing gets the distribution rights for the Bo 105. Later MBB Helicopter Corporation is formed in West Chester, PA and in 1992 merged with Aerospaitiale Helicopter Corp to form Eurocopter. 

I'd especially like to know more about the Republic Aircraft, Bullock, Vought, Boeing, and early MHC and AHC era ... which predates when I started writing articles for helicopter magazines like Helicopter International, Rotor & Wing , Helicopters, Vertical and Vertiflite).

Best regards,

Ken Swartz

Toronto

 

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I'm writing a history presentation for the upcoming Vertical Flight Society (www.vtol.org) Forum 78 in May 2022 on the early history of Aerospatiale (Sud Aviation) and MBB Helicopters in North America

I would imagine the Airbus Helicopter crew in Fort Erie would have much of the information you're looking for. 

Was that Tony Brown?

My buddy Ray Gilstorf worked for AutAir,Spartan and Skyrotors before working for Viking...unfortunately he is now dead...sure he could tell you the whole story...not sure if you are the same guy that I worked with at Midwest on a fire up near Armstrong ....could have been Custom. Ray knew most of the old guys in the business...he came on the scene in 1966. He had lots of stories about Larry Campong...not sure of the spelling.

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Hey, Ken... the few names I knew from that era were Gaspar de Quioroz (spelling may be way off) from Aerospatiale and Bob Ough from MBB... there was one other MBB fellow and I cannot think of his name.... Don't know where these fellows are now... Good luck with the book... I look forward to reading it...

Grant

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10 hours ago, twinstar_ca said:

Hey, Ken... the few names I knew from that era were Gaspar de Quioroz (spelling may be way off) from Aerospatiale and Bob Ough from MBB... there was one other MBB fellow and I cannot think of his name.... Don't know where these fellows are now... Good luck with the book... I look forward to reading it...

Grant

Did Bob Ough work for Hughes back in the 70's...if so I think I know the other guy.

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40 minutes ago, just looking said:

Buffalo air ran the Gazelle and Alouette  i believe.

I have pics of their ships in Ft Smith...1979...one of the Alouettes was upside down in a swamp...and the Gazelle and I had a close encounter in the smoke over the airport!

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