Sud-Ouest Djinn

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S.O.1221 Djinn
Aerospatiale SO 1221 Djinn.jpg
Role Light helicopter
National origin France
Manufacturer Sud-Ouest
First flight 2 January 1953
Primary users French Army
German Army
Number built 178

The Sud-Ouest S.O.1221 Djinn is a French two-seat light helicopter designed and built by Sud-Ouest later Sud Aviation. The helicopter rotors were driven by compressed-air jets at the end of each blade.

Design and development[edit]

Experience with the earlier Ariel experimental tip jet helicopter led Sud-Ouest to develop a practical light helicopter, the S.O.1221 Djinn. It did not use the same tip jet system but relied on compressed air being fed to the ends of the rotor blades. Apart from its method of propulsion the Djinn was a conventional helicopter with a two-seat side-by-side cabin and a Turbomeca Palouste turbo-compressor behind. The aircraft had an uncovered tail-boom with twin fins and a rudder. Because of the torque-free rotor propulsion, it did not need an anti-torque tail rotor.

A single seat prototype (designated S.O.1220) tested the power concept[1][2] and first flew on 2 January 1953. This was a simple uncovered structure with an exposed seat for the pilot. This proved the viability of the propulsion system and five two-seat prototypes were then built as the S.O.1221, the first flew on 16 December 1953. Within a few days the helicopter had climbed to an altitude of 4,789 m (15,712 ft) to establish a record in its class.[3]

Operational history[edit]

The French Army encouraged the building of a pre-production batch of 22 helicopters for evaluation. The first pre-production aircraft flew on 23 September 1954. Three of these pre-production helicopters were acquired by the United States Army for evaluation as the YHO-1. The French Army ordered 100 helicopters and six were bought by the German Army. The French Army used the helicopter for liaison, observation, training, and with one-pilot and two external litters for casualty evacuation.

Production ended in the mid-1960s after 178 Djinns had been built. Some helicopters were sold to civil operators for agricultural use fitted with chemical tanks and spray bars.

Rotor detail
Rotor mast and blade




Data from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft[5]

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two
  • Length: 5.30 m (17 ft 4½ in)
  • Main rotor diameter: 11 m (36 ft 1 in)
  • Height: 2.6 m (8 ft 6¼ in)
  • Main rotor area: 95.03 m2 (1022.96 ft2)
  • Empty weight: 360 kg (704 lb)
  • Gross weight: 800 kg (1,764 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Turbomeca Palouste IV turbo-compressor, 179 kW (240 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 130 km/h (81 mph)
  • Range: 220 km (137 miles)
  • Endurance: 2 hours  15 min
  • Service ceiling: 3,000 m (9,842 ft)

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era



  1. ^ "Helicopter Runs On Air." Popular Science, April 1953.
  2. ^ "Hot Air Whirler" Flight, 18 December 1953. p8
  3. ^ Apostolo 1984, p. 94.
  4. ^ S.O.1221 Djinn "World Helicopter Market 1967 pg. 60" Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  5. ^ The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft 1985, p. 2975.


  • Apostolo, Giorgio. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Helicopters. New York: Bonanza Books, 1984. ISBN 0-517-439352.
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982–1985). London: Orbis Publishing, 1985.

External links[edit]