View Full Version : Westland Whirlwind Helicopter - XP395 / XJ729

14th Sep 2008, 11:21
I am an Archaeological diver currently investigating a Westland Whirlwind HAS10 cab located in New England Quarry, Plymton. The number on the tail is XJ729, the number in the cab and the nose is XP395. Whilst the service history is fairly straight forward, the details of their civilian life is not. can anybody help with the fol:

1. it is suggested that XJ729 ditched during a SAR exercise, but apparently is still flying in ireland under civil registration......................
2. XJ729 was filmed in a programme for BBC 999 Life savers.......
3. XP395 was deployed to Cyprus as part of the peace keeping force but not as far as i can tell with 84 Sqn, can anybody help?

If anybody who operated or worked with Whirlwinds could shed any light i would really appreciate it. In particular i would really like to see any pictures of the cabs that you may have.
many thanks.

14th Sep 2008, 12:54
XP 395 rings a bell. IIRC it was a 230 Sqn Whirlwind that flew from Odiham to Nicosia in 1968/9 when they took over from 72 Sqn on UNICYP. I think it was the one that was bent on a practise EOL just after a minor servicing and went to the MU at Akrotiri to be rebuilt. I will know in two weeks time when I am back in the same country as my log books.

14th Sep 2008, 19:23
A bit more detail.....

The tail no XP395 is painted on to the front panel of the aircraft, behind where it looks like the nose/front light should go. apologies for the lack of technical terminology, have tried and failed to insert a picture.

2 main theories at the moment:

1. XP395 was bought and placed in the quarry, painted with XJ729 for the BBC 999 lifesavers program. this is what the local oral history says. However, XJ729 is still flying so did it ever ditch underwater? unlikely i think.

2. The cab of XP395 and tail boom of XJ729 were bought from the same scrap dealer in Lincolnshire and joined together to make one wreck, possibly for the tv program where the tail number was of no consequence. The cab of XJ729 was then sold on and made airworthy with another tail boom.

Unfortuneatly the BBC aren't very forthcoming and the companies that we think may have owned or worked on the cabs are quite hard to find - the names and addresses dont seem to be current. Has anybody heard of Austen Associates? They seem to be involved with a number of restored Westland aircraft but i cant get any contact details for them. The quarry is owned by a university who use it for studying algae growth. Fire and rescue also use it for training.

14th Sep 2008, 21:47
Fareastdriver is quite right, XP395 was one of four flown in UN colours from Odiham to Nicosia in 1968. (The others were XJ758, XR454 and XP329). There is a picture of three of them shortly after arrival here on:


The centre aircraft in the picture is XP395. Posts 41-56 tell some of the story following my picture of 'guess the airfield' Ciampino.

R8014, if you will PM me with your e-mail address, I will send you the high-definition scans of XP395 on that operation and I'll look for any others I have.


(No 230 Sqn Engineering Officer 1968)

14th Sep 2008, 22:29
D120A,some more of the story is in Mil Aircrew,and perhaps you can elaborate/whatever about the `other `detachment....I did see a picture a few years ago of Dave Todd,flying a `Sioux` in SAfrica,he still wore his suede jungle boots...Syc

15th Sep 2008, 06:02
Here's XJ729 at Leconfield in Feb 1971; I flew it many times. Anyone know its location/registration in Ireland?

15th Sep 2008, 10:57
This is a direct extract from the CAA Search:(tell me how you inserted the picture and i can show one of XJ729 at Brize a few years ago)

Record Number: 1 of 1 Search Again
Registration Details
Current Reg. Date: 27/05/1999
Previous ID: XJ729 DeReg.
Status: Registered To:
Select this link to view the Full Registration History of this aircraft
Aircraft Details
Serial No.: WA100
ICAO 24 bit aircraft
Binary: 0100_00_000_011_10_0001010000
Hex: 403850
Octal: 20034120
Popular Name: WHIRLWIND
Generic Name: S55
Aircraft Class: HELICOPTER
Engines: 1: 1 x ROLLSROYCE
GNOME 10101
MTOW: 3546kg Total Hours: 7311 at
Year Built: 1956
CofA / Permit: Permit to Fly C of A Expiry: 17/06/2008
Owner Details
Ownership Status: Owned
Registered Owners: JAMES FRANCIS KELLY
Third Party Insurance Information
Insurance Evidence
Verified Date:
18/08/2007 Date of "No Flight"

henry crun
15th Sep 2008, 11:47
R8014: If you want to know how to insert a picture, read the sticky thread titled Image Posting on Pprune - some tips for you.

15th Sep 2008, 15:19
Hope this is the pic you wanted to post, always here to help ! Keith.


16th Sep 2008, 17:43
At the risk of being a Boring Old F*rt, I've just had a look in my logbook. I last flew XP395 on 16th December 1966 (yes, 1966). Local area Odiham, Instrument Flying. That was during a very short stint with 230 before I was shunted off to Wessex. Happy days.

21st Sep 2008, 14:22
Dear All,
many thanks for the info you have all given so far, it has been a great help in being able to pin the aircraft to locations and units as well as following the historical record. The historical background section of our report should be completed in the next couple of weeks. If anybody would like to see a copy or has any suggestions as to how it would be best to post or display it, please let me know.

23rd Sep 2008, 19:03
I think it was the one that was bent on a practise EOL just after a minor servicing and went to the MU at Akrotiri to be rebuilt
It was, 8th May 1968.

12th May 2010, 04:32
I have only just found this post after looking for something else, so sorry for the delay. others have given all the info i think. I did work on this aeroplane in Nicosia with 84sqn B flight during the time 1976 - 79. 4 in total i think, in UN colours plus a further 4(5?) in SAR yellow at Akrotiri down south. Cheers.:)

13th Jun 2011, 17:40
The tail boom of XJ 729 was replaced in the mid to late 1960's whilst it was on 'C' Flt 202 Sqdn at RAF Leuchars. This might explain why there was a gash tail boom with 729 painted on it??

15th Jun 2011, 15:35
I would be surprised if the tailboom on '729 is the only bit which has been changed over the years. Most Whirlwinds ended up with a mixture of bits as they came and went from major servicing, particularly thing like hinged panels.

Unfortunately, although 729 is being maintained in a flyable condition, due to the economic situation in Ireland it is unlikely to fly again in the near future. Also the longer it is not flown, the bigger will be the job to get it flying again as Whirlwinds deteriorate quite quickly in the electrical bits, particularly the engine computor system and also the flexible tanks. A shame as I enjoyed my annual Whirlwind fix doing its flight testing, pilot refams and LPC's etc.

Most of the work over the years since leaving the RAF had been in rectifying the deterioration caused during the time when it was left outside when HQ SAR Wing left Finningly.

1st Jul 2011, 23:25
I have attached a photo of XJ 729 taken in about 1971 when it landed in the officers mess car park at RAF Leconfield having picked up 3 http://www.cig.canon-europe.com/ph/OPA/aig/41KCaJSFLqmJmawSCU03ks3kskXL0101014713kskXLxCTpDoDg.jpg
officers who had just walked the Pennine Way. The navigator is Flt Lt Peter Pascoe who was B flight commander and the pilot is Sqn Ldr Phil Taylor who was 202 Sqn cdr at the time

1st Jul 2011, 23:31
Don`t you mean ` Big Phil` Taylor...!

1st Jul 2011, 23:35
Your too quick I was already changing it!

2nd Jul 2011, 12:08
Phil Taylor didn't get into a Whirlwind;---he put it on.

2nd Jul 2011, 17:52

Is Phil Taylor (AFC of course) still with us? I seem to recall a couple of years ago being told that he'd departed the mortal coil (if still here, he'll be 82 now).

Just before Christmas 1966, I remember trying to prevent (all 5' 5" of me) Phil (strong refreshment having been taken) from getting carried away in an argument with a sqn ldr on secondment to the RMAF. The row became so heated that the pair of them trooped off to the stn cdr's bungalow (this was at Labuan) to seek a resolution. I think he told the pair of them to go forth and multiply.

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