SA330 Puma 55 years ago on this day

55 years ago today the Aerospatiale SA330 Puma flew for the first time so here are my photos of both RAF and ALAT Pumas from over the decades be it RIAT, Waddo, Helitech Paris Air Show etc and of course the Puma from Helivia Air Taxi (leased by Roberts Aircraft Inc Wyoming) I worked with.

Cheers

628F5F06-AD1A-4D04-8215-22B7CF2B2D32.jpeg
FE330502-215F-42F9-9103-D5C6D0C9AFDA.jpeg
97E500FA-5907-4682-BC35-8BD8033C95FD.jpeg
C8708676-1E95-4CBD-B7E1-D560EDC0E775.jpeg
401A3DD4-918A-44B1-8323-CB386649764C.jpeg
E6EF4A90-8EF5-404A-957B-E21FE364F8DF.jpeg
D5FD1F63-5D20-4803-8863-EB2ADAB79A7C.jpeg
72D63ABC-A525-42AB-84B2-CBE2084841AE.jpeg
6C09D12D-97B7-481B-9323-B46BFD763195.jpeg
FC3D58E6-5EAF-41E6-AEFD-2E8F8C4C92FE.jpeg
CD80B83B-8EEC-40EC-ABB8-5B71189D04EB.jpeg
12E57E70-D07D-4CA0-89D1-4D64660AD579.jpeg
 

Boxy

GCM
It always worried me hearing the tail section creak and groan when moving about Belize in them
 
Such a sleek beastie at first but pushed beyond its sell by date by constant stretches and tweaks. I was just thinking about the Super Puma today when I was browsing FR24 and noticed how Sikorsky has monopolised the North Sea
Screenshot_20200415-100912_1.png


Eurocopter needed to have started with a clean sheet in the mid-90s but are paying the price now.
 
First flew in a Puma in 1974 in XMG/South Armagh.

Great helicopter which did a great job.
 

Yokel

LE
As far as I know, the RAF Puma has never operated from a ship, but other countries frequently do operate it from ships. They are even civilian ones performing HDS/VERTREP roles for the US Navy.

So what is different about theirs? Genuine question.
 

NSP

LE
As far as I know, the RAF Puma has never operated from a ship, but other countries frequently do operate it from ships. They are even civilian ones performing HDS/VERTREP roles for the US Navy.

So what is different about theirs? Genuine question.
Le Frog do it...

Ships03.jpg


Although given the nature of that vessel it's probably an army bird rather than a naval one.

Have the RAF ever operated any of their kit from a deck, bar the Falklands Harriers...?
 
Le Frog do it...

View attachment 544217

Although given the nature of that vessel it's probably an army bird rather than a naval one.

Have the RAF ever operated any of their kit from a deck, bar the Falklands Harriers...?
Yes - Joint Force Harrier GR7s and GR9s; Chinooks have been deployed aboard, and I seem to recall 28 Squadron took its Merlins (pre-handover to FAA for the jungly force) aboard for an exercise.

F-35s are a properly joint asset - hence OC 617 being a WAFU at the moment - but the aircraft are recorded as being part of the RAF fleet in all official documentation, so they've been aboard as well.
 
Le Frog do it...

View attachment 544217

Although given the nature of that vessel it's probably an army bird rather than a naval one.

Have the RAF ever operated any of their kit from a deck, bar the Falklands Harriers...?

Yes, the Aéronavale only operated 2 H225 for SAR missions for a few years when the Super Frelon were withdrawn and the NH90 were not delivered yet.

25457.jpg


ALAT Puma and Cougar were routinely deployed on Marine Nationale amphibious ships. Now it's more the NH 90
 
Last edited:
Advise used a couple in the Falklands but we chose to keep crab air out of it with the exception of a lone wokka in the heliworld.

N.b. other wokkas were available in smoky moist kitform only.
 
Yes - Joint Force Harrier GR7s and GR9s; Chinooks have been deployed aboard, and I seem to recall 28 Squadron took its Merlins (pre-handover to FAA for the jungly force) aboard for an exercise.

F-35s are a properly joint asset - hence OC 617 being a WAFU at the moment - but the aircraft are recorded as being part of the RAF fleet in all official documentation, so they've been aboard as well.
And the whining from the crabs was louder than the Harriers landing back onboard.
 
As far as I know, the RAF Puma has never operated from a ship, but other countries frequently do operate it from ships. They are even civilian ones performing HDS/VERTREP roles for the US Navy.

So what is different about theirs? Genuine question.

Lets take the contracted out SA330H Puma used over the last deacde and half from the likes of companies such as

Geoseis Helicopters (part of ROberts Aircraft Inc, Colorado / Wyoming) now gone supplied SA330H back in early 2000s I dealt with them re one of their Pumas went tits up on its side in the Amazon under contract to Helivia Air Taxi in 2002/3. It came here to UK to be repaired then it would stay in Europe...rumor had it it would end up with the Military Sealift Command VERTREP contract to replace the Puma which fell of the deck of one of the aircraft carriers steaming to iraqi Freedom in 2003.

Here are my pics of said former resident of the Amazon trucked into my abode

50654664_10157390260711490_8450730522933460992_n.jpg
50813551_10157390260701490_4153299096821563392_n.jpg
51499969_10157390260691490_3969615775206998016_n.jpg

As it happened two years later a/c nearly completed fixed and ROberts pulled the plug.

Evergreen Helicopter (part of Evergreen Air Inc which went bust after over half a century of ops) then merged into Erickson Aircrane Inc


XE / Presidential Airways (used to be Blackwater)

AFAIK apart from strictly civvy airframes, but can be employed in a maritime environment, be it a replem=nishment vessel or one of the CVN ...they not tasked anything but lifting stuf from one ship to another. No more stress like say deploying SEALS, Marines etc in tactical situations or getting shot at.

French ALAT SA330H Puma emplyed in the VERTREP role as the SUper Frelon was retired

Tactically no reason why our Pumas need to be embarked on carrier for

Amphibious assault? old Westland Sea King Commando and now Merlin

VERTREP? No point got the Merlin and at a push with tailored air group have the Chinook

cheers



Cheers
 
Last edited:

Yokel

LE
Lets take the contracted out SA330H Puma used over the last deacde and half from the likes of companies such as

Geoseis Helicopters (part of ROberts Aircraft Inc, Colorado / Wyoming) now gone supplied SA330H back in early 2000s I dealt with them re one of their Pumas went tits up on its side in the Amazon under contract to Helivia Air Taxi in 2002/3. It came here to UK to be repaired then it would stay in Europe...rumor had it it would end up with the Military Sealift Command VERTREP contract to replace the Puma which fell of the deck of one of the aircraft carriers steaming to iraqi Freedom in 2003.

Here are my pics of said former resident of the Amazon trucked into my abode

View attachment 544338View attachment 544339View attachment 544340
As it happened two years later a/c nearly completed fixed and ROberts pulled the plug.

Evergreen Helicopter (part of Evergreen Air Inc which went bust after over half a century of ops) then merged into Erickson Aircrane Inc


XE / Presidential Airways (used to be Blackwater)

AFAIK apart from strictly civvy airframes, but can be employed in a maritime environment, be it a replem=nishment vessel or one of the CVN ...they not tasked anything but lifting stuf from one ship to another. No more stress like say deploying SEALS, Marines etc in tactical situations or getting shot at.

French ALAT SA330H Puma emplyed in the VERTREP role as the SUper Frelon was retired

Tactically no reason why our Pumas need to be embarked on carrier for

Amphibious assault? old Westland Sea King Commando and now Merlin

VERTREP? No point got the Merlin and at a push with tailored air group have the Chinook

cheers



Cheers

I saw a documentary that featured a US Military Sealift Command logistics ship and was astounded to see a Puma - painted white and flown by civvies. I would have thought the Americans would have wanted every extra MH-60 they could in theatre - aboard any vessel.

How come it got repaired in the UK? I thought the RAF Pumas were upgraded in Romania?
 
I saw a documentary that featured a US Military Sealift Command logistics ship and was astounded to see a Puma - painted white and flown by civvies. I would have thought the Americans would have wanted every extra MH-60 they could in theatre - aboard any vessel.

How come it got repaired in the UK? I thought the RAF Pumas were upgraded in Romania?
Hang on Buddy we Are talking about two completely different things here Civvy and military did you not read my post??

The Puma at my old workplace strictly civilian and the Company negotiated with Then Roberts Aircraft to bring it over here to be fixed up in order it would either fill

1) The firefighting Season in the Med either in France, Spain, Portugal,

or

2) Go straight to contract with US Navy which Robert Aircraft sub GEoseis had.

absolutely sweet FA to do with the RAF or MoD.

Now back to US Navy vertrep

In the early 2000s the MH-60S Knighthawk (or CH-60S designated 2001) had not fully entered properly the fleet as the CH-46E Sea Knight was still in navy service or retiring

Contracting out the VERTREp is two fold.

— don’t lose the Lift capability of the retired Sea Knight

— let’s the MH-60R concentrate on warfighting role of SEAL delivery, Fire support, Plane guard/ SAR and some VERTREP and airborne mine Countermeasures.

Bearing in mind there’s another one or two commercial helicopter companies providing VERTREP support , one of which is Texas based company called Air Center Helicopters. Their Bell 412 and 407 done that for many years to this day and now they got a fleet of Airbus Helicopters H225 to also help out.

fyi Air Center Helicopters H225 retrieved the SpaceX Dragon astronauts after they touched down


0077BFD7-9CE1-4B94-914E-5027F7AAFF6D.jpeg
82CD3A22-0AFA-4A7A-B787-206E3184FAE3.jpeg


Now let’s talk about the RAF one yes you are right the Puma HC2 was awarded to Eurocopter of which their sub Eurocopter Romania (old IAR Brasov) had upgraded and modified. The contracted was awarded in 2003.

Also for damn Near six decades, we have been contracting mil helicopter support starting with Bristow Helicopters provided flying Training to both AAC and Royal Navy FAA ..the latter was more for conversion onto the S-55/WS55 Whirlwind.

Bristow, British International and now AAR Airlift provided helicopter services to Falkland Islands. Etc

cheers
 
Last edited:

JAD

LE
My preferred sky taxi of choice. 230 Sqn (ME) Puma lads from RAF Wilders and later in Laarbruch were a great bunch whilst on GW1. 18 Sqn. Chinooks were a bit more serious (very old pipe smoking SALM WO's)but loved flying in the twin rotor over sandy climbs.
 

Latest Threads

Top