From SNCASE to Airbus
After WWII the company specialized in helicopters and passenger aircraft. One of the best-known examples of the helicopter production is the Alouette II helicopter, which has been in use also in Finland.
In 1952 the French civil aviation committee decided about the production of a passenger aircraft, based on the SNCASE’s suggestion X-210, which was named Caravelle. The first prototype flew its maiden flight on May 27th, 1955.
Sud Aviation 1957-1969
In 1957 the SNCASE was merged with SNCASO, i.e. the “south-western aviation industry”, which had earlier been formed of small aircraft factories, such as Bleriot and Bloch. The new company was named Sud Aviation.
The best-known aircraft type of Sud Aviation was the Caravelle, but the company continued its helicopter production and took part in a joint venture with BAC to create the Concorde.
In 1970 Sud Aviation merged with Nord Aviation and SÉREB company and the result was the Aérospatiale aircraft factory. This factory production included fixed wing and rotating wing aircraft and also missiles and space technology.
In 1992 the helicopter production of Aérospatiale was merged with the helicopter production of Daimler-Benz Aerospace (DASA) into Eurocopter Group. The company became Airbus Helicopters in 2014.
In February 1962 SAS received its fifteenth Caravelle, its production number was 112. It was a Caravelle III version, and it got the registration SE-DAF. The first SAS Caravelles were version I/IA and all of the first Caravelles had Rolls Royce Avon jet engines. When the new Avon Mk.527 version, with the new jet exhaust nozzle, was available the Caravelle III was born. All Caravelle I/IA aircraft were modified into Caravelle III, which in practice meant that the engine was replaced with the new model. This modification was also done in the first three Aero Oy Caravelles, the fourth one was a Caravelle III from the beginning.
In May 2020 Finnish Aviation Museum Society was asked if they were interested in having the aircraft. The aircraft had been standing at Arlanda for 46 years and the alternative for it was scrapping. On February 4th 2021 Swedish National Maritime and Transport Museums and Aviation Museum Society Finland signed an agreement that the aircraft is transferred to the possession of Aviation Museum Society Finland.
Caravelle -koneita Pohjoismaissa
Caravelles in Central Europe
Finnair’s Caravelle III aircraft
The Caravelle III fleet opened the doors for Finnair into the jet age travelling. The aircraft type was in use a short period, until 1964, when all four aircraft were sold back to the manufacturer as a remission for the purchase of six new Sud Aviation 10B3 Caravelle aircraft. This was the first time Aero used this procedure, which was to become a rule rather than an exception during the coming years.
Finnair’s Super Caravelles
In Finnair the Super Caravelle was used with a cabin lay-out with either 12 first class and 70 tourist class seats or 95 tourist class seats. The maximum capacity was 107 passengers.
In 1983 Finnair gave up its Super Caravelle fleet.
Finnair’s Caravelles today
All of the first three Caravelle IA/III aircraft have been scrapped. However, the fourth one ended up in reconnaissance use and it has been preserved. It is on display at Musée Européen de L’Aviation De Chasse in Montelimar, France and bears the colours of the French air force and the registration F-ZACE.
Seven of the eight Super Caravelles have been scrapped. From this lot the nose part of the OH-LSC is used as a clubhouse at the L’Altiport de Corlier airport in France. As far as we know, the OH-LSH has been preserved, it bears the registration HK-3836 and is located in an aquapark in Mexico.
Both of the two Super Caravelles which were used by Finnair for a short time have been scrapped.
The model VI-R OH-LER which was used by Finnair for a few months in 1964 may still be found on the edge of the Benina airfield in Libya, where it has been waiting for its fate since 1975.