Back Aerospatiale SA-315B "Lama"


Three months after its first flight in March 1955 the Alouette II proved the potential of this great design by smashing the helicopter altitude record, taking it to 8209 metres. Orders followed quickly and mass production was initiated at Marseilles/Marignane, with the first deliveries going to the Armee de l'Air in May 1956.

Eclipsing its contemporaries in performance, payload and reliability, the type gained significant civilian and military sales, including to the armed forces of Austria, Belgium Germany and Switzerland. Thanks to its exceptional performance at altitude, the British Army acquired 17 machines for use in Cyprus, Kenya and Uganda.

When production of the Alouette II ended, after more than 1,300 airframes had been completed, Sud (which later became part of Aerospatiale) concentrated on building the Lama. This married the airframe of the Alouette II with the Alouette Ill's engine and rotors. The Lama continues to be produced in India, where the type is ideal for air force operations in the Himalayas.

R.Jackson "Helicopters. Military, Civilian, and Rescue Rotorcraft", 2005

Aerospatiale SA-315B

With the fuselage of the Alouette II and the dynamics of the Alouette III, the SA.315 Lama has built a reputation for hot and high operating in the world's mountainous regions. To fill an Indian requirement for a helicopter capable of operating in the Himalayas, the Lama first flew in March 1969. With the ability to lift underslung loads up to 1135kg the Lama proved ideal for many demanding tasks. The Lama holds the absolute all class-altitude record (12440m) for aerial work and transport around the mountain summits of the Himalayas and Andean Cordillera.

P.Allen "The Helicopter", 1996

Initially evolved to meet an Indian armed forces requirement of 1968 and intended primarily for operations in 'hot-and-high' conditions, the basic design of the Aerospatiale SA 315B Lama combines a reinforced Alouette II airframe with SA 316B Alouette III dynamic components, including its Artouste power-plant and rotor system. The SA 315 prototype was first flown on 17 March 1969, received the French Certificate of Airworthiness on 30 September 1970, and the name Lama was bestowed by its manufacturers in July 1971.

From the outset the SA 315B excelled in load-to-altitude performance. During a series of demonstration flights in the Indian Himalayas during 1969 an SA 315B, carrying a crew of two and 120kg of fuel, landed and took off at the highest altitude ever recorded: 7500m. On 21 June 1972, a Lama with only a pilot aboard established a helicopter absolute height record of 12442m. These achievements, and the high reputation for reliability established by its close relations, Alouette II and III, ensured a good reception on the market. Already in 1971 arrangements were completed for licence production of the SA 315B by HAL at Bangalore in India. The first Indian-assembled Lama flew on 6 October 1972, with deliveries commencing in December 1973. The HAL-produced Lama is renamed Chetak.

Similar to the Alouette series, the SA 315B Lama can be fitted out for various commercial roles, such as a light passenger transport or for agricultural tasks, while the military variants include conversions for liaison, observation, photography, air/sea rescue (hoist capacity 160kg), transport (maximum external load 1135kg), ambulance (two stretchers and one medical attendant), and other tasks. Its altitude performance makes the SA 315B particularly suited for mountainous districts: the production Lama can transport underslung external loads of up to 1000kg at an altitude of 2500m. Another important factor is its universal landing gear consisting of skids with removable wheels for ground handling, provision for floats for normal operations from water and emergency flotation gear, inflatable in the air.

In 1978 agreement was reached between Aerospatiale and Helibras in Brazil for the assembly of SA 315B Lama helicopters, leading to full licence production.

D.Donald "The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft", 1997

The Lama owes its name to the fact that it was designed for operation at high altitude. The project for this variant of the Alouette originated in late 1968 in response to an Indian Air Force requirement for an aircraft capable of operating in the Himalayas, and a similar need on the part of South American air forces operating in the Andes. The first Lama, the exterior of which was almost indistinguishable from its predecessors flew on 17 March 1969 and was certified on 30 September 1970.

Structurally, the Lama is the same as the Alouette II, with high skid landing gear without wheels. The only detail which makes it immediately recognizable is a small housing for electronic equipment at the front of the cockpit. The dynamic components are identical to those of the Alouette III. The Lama can be used as a flying crane and is capable of lifting 1000kg to an altitude of 2500m. During demonstrations, the Lama took off and landed at 7500m above sea level. As the Chetak the SA.315B has been built under license by Hindustan Aeronautics in India.

G.Apostolo "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Helicopters", 1984

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Technical data for Aerospatiale SA-315B "Lama"

Crew: 1, passengers: 4, engine: 1 x Turbomeca Artouste IIIB turboshaft, rated at 649kW, main rotor diameter: 11.02m, fuselage length: 10.26m, height: 3.09m, take-off weight: 2300kg, empty weight: 1021kg, cruising speed: 120km/h, service ceiling: 3000m

Roland Triet, e-mail, 31.03.2015

Ok, you checked all, nearly! What about the Circuit Breaker itself?

miguel Gaitán, e-mail, 31.03.2015

I am an avionics tech currently working in a SA315 lama and I have a problema with 1K Circuit breaker popping out when it is about to start. I have checked every electric component attached to this CB and the CB still pops out. Can anyone tell me if you had the same thing going on and how you solved it ?

rocky, e-mail, 20.10.2014

Hi The LAMA AS315B is alive. I have a complete set of
High Altitude Improved Performance Composite Main Rotor
Blades for sale. also have a set of normal metal Blades plus
nine volumes of mainteneance manuals, plus special LAMA tooling.
contact me. email

michelle caicedo, e-mail, 03.07.2014

please inform if you provide mechanics refreshners on Lamas 315b?

Mark Rose, e-mail, 27.02.2013

The Lama has made its mark in the USA but the engine and parts costs have put it in a hard place so the Astar has taken its place. maybe 15 left flying in US and Canada

When I had tracking issues I loaded up with fuel and people and flag tracked the ship while pulling as much pitch as possible. Look at the book. even as high (altitude) as you can. adjust with PC links only, your tabs may have been bumped when installing/removing the blades.

I also have all the small parts for the Lama if you are stuck. some in good quantities. All French in packaging, no copy stuff.

Kind regards and safe flying to everyone


SANJEEV TYAGI, e-mail, 26.04.2012

I am looking for some study on vibration analysis of 315 LAMA in High Altitude Areas

Karam dad, e-mail, 22.04.2012

Hi, i like 315B lama and Alouette iii ,very smart mechine. I fan....i work on as a mechanic about 15 years. And i seek for a more job as a mechanic any where....i hope assist me, thanks regards. Karam from, pakistan

soccer, e-mail, 17.06.2011

I am parting out two Lama's

HeliManuals, e-mail, 18.03.2011

Anil kumar, e-mail, 03.03.2011

Can any one provide information on source of supplier for special stretchers(ambulance) used in lama helicopter. We are need of stretchers. You may plz contact me on or

shourab Eskandari, e-mail, 23.12.2010

Dear Sir
i need more information about lama helcoopter this is the shourico offshore & onshore operation drilling company in persian gulf.

Abhinaya, e-mail, 09.11.2010

No better helicopter build then the ever reliable lama. It was meant to operate in the land of the Lamas- super high altitude.

PAUL B GEIST, e-mail, 05.11.2010

I am parting out two Lama's

Harvey, 13.10.2010

This machine is very pilot friendly, it was born to lift!!
I am flying the Lama threw out Indonesia..
We support Exploration contracts and most lifting is on the 200ft line shifting drills,.. good fun..
One of the few "real" helicopters left.

R.Moore, e-mail, 08.09.2010

been flying one w/lom blades and finding cracks along the trailing edge on trim tab. Anyone know specs or have related info...?

Dharam Singh, e-mail, 28.07.2010

It is my dreem to fly in Lama Any body is there who will give me this chance

Napoleon, e-mail, 06.06.2010

Candido this is my mail contact me

Cándido, e-mail, 11.05.2010

I would like to know if there are any company or even any private owner who still fluy with Lama?.(better in Spain) I am a CPL(H) and I wish I colud fly one of this at list once in my life.

Ferdy Chaidir, e-mail, 23.03.2010

can we get mmel of lama315b helicopter on line.

NEERAJ, e-mail, 24.02.2010

We have a lama helicopter fitted with 30 series blades , we are facing a problem of getting feedback in form of judder on colective and the collective going down of its own when the helicopter is operated at high altitudes at high picth . Has anybody encountered such problem before .

Indhumathi Elango, e-mail, 14.02.2010

can i get the payload and the hover ceiling of this heli?

davinder rathi, e-mail, 29.01.2010

I have flown the lama in the ladhakh region upto 25000 ft of density altitude .There is no other machine which can match its performance or give the same confidence to the pilot . Its a great machine

Debashis Dasgupta, e-mail, 09.01.2010

She's the Ferrari of helicopters. Pure performance is the true essence of this amazing machine. I consider myself lucky to be flying one of them. And the visibility of the perspex cabin is incomparable. Its cloud nine inside that transparent dome.

Alfrets Kunang, e-mail, 18.12.2009

We have 2 helicopter Aluetta III for sale..... We have spares stock Turbomeca Artouste IIIB, Gear box, landing gear etc. in stock for sale.

S.F.Rouhani, e-mail, 17.10.2009

We have received inquiry for spare parts for this model.
Please advise how we can buy the spare parts for this kind of aircraft.
Eximoil GesmbH/Vienna Austria

RUBEN CASTILLO, e-mail, 12.09.2009

Hola! soy especialista de helicoptero lama de la fuerza aerea argentina, me gustaria informacion de los sistemas del helicoptero, y su mantenimiento.

yobbo, e-mail, 07.04.2009

yes .. they truly are a great helicopter.
I've flown one in one of the northern provinces of China and hovered OGE at around 18000' with 2 of us on board without any effort...makes a bad pilot look good

KAPIL, e-mail, 22.03.2009

can we get the ipc of cheetah heli on line.

Miguel Perez, e-mail, 14.03.2009

please if someone has information about the cennections and plug (form, number of pins, positions, pictures) please contact me

Mguel Perez, e-mail, 14.03.2009

Por favor si alguno tiene informacion acerca de los conectores(posicion, numero de pines, forma, manera de enrosacar, imagenes) por favor aviseme...

Anthony Yiu, e-mail, 27.02.2009

Our company has 6 Lama in total, 4 in service and 2 still under rebuild. Any parties who had interst to buy them, please let us know.

José, e-mail, 30.01.2009

Hola señores me gustaría tener datos sobre el ruido generado por sus motores en DB

PERCYANIBAL, e-mail, 04.01.2009

soy tecnico de este helicopero me gustaria informacion acerca del trabajo de mantenimiento, gracias

ted slavin, e-mail, 12.11.2008

Does anyone know how to reduce the cold air draft coming through the fuel flow lever housing into the cabin during winter ops? Too cold for cabin heater to overcome. Thanks from Canada!

ted slavin, e-mail, 12.11.2008

Does anyone know how to reduce the cold air draft coming through the fuel flow lever housing into the cabin during winter ops? Too cold for cabin heater to overcome. Thanks from Canada!

vishwajeet singh, e-mail, 10.09.2008

i fly this aircraft. She's so beautiful to fly. a absolute high altitude wonder

makbool, e-mail, 17.04.2008

yes, the lama is perhaps the best high altitude helicopter ever built... the HAL built variant is called CHEETAH ( CHETAK is allouette III). being sold for about 1.2 mil usd. Has the altitude record bettered by the AS355?? i heard it landed on the everest!!!!!!!!!!..or was that only an attempt??

gary sahota, e-mail, 22.03.2008

i too would like to buy one of these machines,i think HAL in bangalore,india are still building these units,called the CHETEK

Jean-François Lemire, e-mail, 21.01.2008

Hi! I am searching a Lama SA 315B flight manual for dimensions specs. Can you dir me to any site? Thanks

Aziz Ud Din Ammad, e-mail, 17.10.2007

Lama Helicopter is my dream air machine since my childhood to date.But this dream is still dream and i have no chance to have physically sit in this machine.Kindly fulfill my dream in this regard.

javed alam, e-mail, 29.09.2007

hi can any one help me...i m searching 4 aluouette III..and lama flght manual....can u dir me to any site thanks..

hugo visser, e-mail, 23.05.2007

i would like to buy one has anybodey got one for me contact me at T K S

Do you have any comments concerning this aircraft ?

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© On 21 June 1972 a Lama, with just a pilot on board, set an absolute height record for helicopters of 12442m .

© Hindustan Aeronautics in India still produce the Lama; it is known as the Cheetah.

© Alouette IIs and Lamas have served with more than 120 users in nearly 50 countries.

© In Brazil, Helibras assembled Lamas, as the Gaviao, using French components.

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