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GAZELLE AH.1

Westland Gazelle AH.1 Helicopter XZ332 at the Ulster Aviation Society. Image: Mark J. Cairns © 2024

Image: MARK J. CAIRNS

The SA341B Westland Gazelle AH.1 is a light utility helicopter, suitable for a variety of roles from observation to ground-attack and anti-tank operations.

 

Its design and performance made it a valuable asset within British military operations , especially during the Northern Ireland "Troubles", a fascinating subject for aviation enthusiasts and historians alike.

Westland Gazelle AH.1 Helicopter XZ332 at the Ulster Aviation Society. Image: Mark J. Cairns © 2024

Image: MARK J. CAIRNS

The story of the Ulster Aviation Society’s Gazelle AH.1 Helicopter XZ332 is not just about a machine; it’s about the people who flew, maintained, and learned from it.

 

Built in 1977, this Gazelle, with serial number 1661, was initially used by the British Army’s Air Corps. Its sleek design and agility quickly made it a favourite for observation and light transport duties, especially in Northern Ireland.

Throughout its service, XZ332 had been a part of significant events and had undergone various deployments and was later exhibited at public events.

 

Notably, it was spotted at both the Bournemouth Air Show in 1988 and later at Middle Wallop Air Show in 1996.

 

These public appearances showcased this Gazelle’s operational capabilities and its role within the Army Air Corps.

 

In March 2011, XZ332 took on a new role as an instructional airframe at the School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering in Arborfield.

 

This transition marked a shift from active service to an educational tool, helping to train the next generation of aviation technicians and engineers, further enhanced by its final destination within the home of aviation education at the UAS, and add to the "Troubles" collection of Helicopters.

Manufacturer: Westland

Model: Gazelle AH.1 SA 341B
 
Registration: XZ332

UAS Location: Hangar 1

Operating Life: 
1974-2011

Maximum Speed:  190mph

Cruise Speed: 164mph

Engine:  Turbomeca Astazou IIIN2

Service Ceiling: 16,000ft

Length & Height11.97m x 3.15m

Rotor Diameter: 10.5m

Range: 224 miles

Fuel Capacity:  162 Gallons

Empty Weight:  917Kg

Max Take-Off Weight:  1.8T


Special Equipment: Night Sun Searchlight, Radio location via ARC 340 radio, 68mm SNEB Rockets.

Served with: British Army
Gazelle Helicopter illustrations
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