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Dennis Kenyon
6th May 2013, 07:44
Ah ... dear old G-BESS. So good to see her again. I started Skyline Helicopters at Wycombe Air Park circa 1982 when one of our first acquisitions was the G-BESS 500D for my co-director Peter Milward. Now scratching my head, I recall the occasion we used a second 500 (G-HOOK?) to lift G-BESS from where she landed safely following an engine failure auto into an Oxford college field of standing crop. The college wouldn't allow us to go in with a lorry so we simply removed the C-20 which dropped the weight to something in the region of 1300lbs and long-lined her back to safety.

The wonderful, Guy Ralph Scott was of course the Express MD at Biggin Hill, and in the late 1970s I regularly visited him as a co-Piper dealer. He was a great diner and would take us down to the pub in Westerham, (Kings Head or Crown perhaps?) but now a block of flats or some sort of business HQ although it still bears the name of the pub! .... I'm also trying to think of the name of the research TV firm who owned the Citation and whose boss was later knighted, but the brain cells are not what they used to be! He also flew an AS350 Squirrel.

And thanks for the Hong Kong blues song. Ain't life weird! ... At the time George Harrison seemed surprised that anyone would have known of the blues tune ... certainly when he played his version for myself and Barry Sheene. And great to hear that Barry's life is remembered with an annual run down under. Does Stephanie take part in any way? I'm sure many are aware of Barry's previous 500, G-STEF.

Want another Bazza story? ... Circa 1986/7, I attended a Castle Donnington Motocycle GP. There I met my old student Barry in the car park, which we were using as a helipad for our camera ship 500. My company March Helicopters was covering the event for the early days of David Earl's TV2 micro-wave system. Having landed after the morning practice, Barry asked if he could do the camera ship flying for the race. So off he went and with his knowledge of race tactics, probably did a better job than I could.
Take care all ...... Dennis K.

Dennis Kenyon
6th May 2013, 07:47
PS. G-BESS pictured at the Aviator Hotel. Sywell of course. DRK

6th May 2013, 08:23

G-ANFH finished up at Bristow's in 1969 and was used at Blackpool for several months.

Best Regards.

6th May 2013, 08:35
AA Rapide (later an Apache) was also a resident.

Automobile Association De Havilland DH89A Dragon Rapide G-AHKV at Biggin Hill in 1959 (Photo: Jerry Hughes)

A great shame this photo is not in colour for, if it were, you would see the delightful Rapide in bright yellow with black piping.

Automobile Association Piper PA23-160 Apache G-APZE at Biggin Hill on 12th May 1967 (Photo: John Hamlin)

Planemike: Thanks for the further description. If it was one and the same hangar as the one used by Decca (as Treadigraph suggests) then I remember it well.

G-ARIA (the Decca Bell 47) and her pilot 'Robin' Hood have of course be covered earlier in the thread on pages 71 (http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/419023-rotary-nostalgia-thread-71.html) and 80 (http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/419023-rotary-nostalgia-thread-80.html).

Sadly there weren't that many blitterblats at Biggin in the 60's and 70's. I remember that if you passed to the right of the Decca/Express Aviation hangar past more curved roof hangars at the very end was an Air and Space Autogyro owned (I think) by someone called Chris Devere? Anyway, whoever it was ended-up landing the thing on our property in the early 70's when my father used to keep his planks at Biggin.

Treadigraph: Thank you for your investigative work! Great to discover that the craft I saw at Sportair ends-up having so much relevance and was also to be found in 'Eric the Ferret's' photo album!

Denissimo: I remember BESS well too .. as Peter would regularly fly into Booker in the mornings using this craft. Do you recall the incident where he 'dinged' the tail rotor on one of the chain posts surrounding the helipad at Skyline? Nobby had to run out and tell him to shut down (he was doing the 2-3 minute cool down) before the tail shook itself to pieces!

Oldlae: Many thanks. :ok: Its been too long since we heard from you last!

6th May 2013, 09:50
Dennis, would that be Peter Michael who - so Wikipedia tells me - founded both Micro Consultants and Quantel - never knew what they did till I read the article on Wiki!

Sav, a mere tickle compared with your heard work!

Yes I can only remember those two as regular helicopters at Biggin, and rather more when the British Grand Prix was at Brands Hatch.

The two blister hangars beyond Express contained some interesting airframes. the far one as you say had the Air & Space 18A plus a dilapidated Commander 500 both owned by Interflight - Chris de Vere was certainly associated with Biggin Hill.

The other blister hangar next to Express contained an American Lear 25 for a bit. Both blisters collapsed under the weight of snow on separate occasions in the 1980s/1990s.

Idle Cut Off
6th May 2013, 12:49
The F4 Phantom was introduced to Royal Naval service in 1969 and this September Air Day was the navy's first chance to show off this spectacularly powerful and beautiful aircraft.

The pre-display briefing started as a rather intense and detailed affair. The room was crowded and after Met Briefing it developed into a detailed discussion between various stovies about wind direction, maximum allowable crosswinds and runway changes. One felt it was a day for the helicopter fraternity to be seen but not heard. It was not our party.

But, half way through the session Cdr (Air) asked whether there were any questions so far. At the back, a young RAF Flt. Lieutenant, on exchange with 845, stood and asked if his Wessex V could be positioned further down the dispersal area for the start of his display. Cdr (A) said all aircraft positions had been carefully planned and was this change necessary. The Flt. Lt. said it was otherwise he was going to have to overfly the display line at low level and he was anxious that his piano should not fall into the crowd by accident. All faces were now turned back toward this intruder. Rather nonplussed and anxious to get things back on track quickly Cdr (A) said to do whatever was safest and were there any more questions.

Colin Bates, or Mrs Grundy as we must now call him, stood and asked if he could park his Hiller closer to the hardstanding on completion of his display, as at present he was going to have to walk 500 yards across soft grass in a tight skirt and high heeled shoes.

This rather upset the gravitas of the rest of the briefing.

Colin's display went well. The PA had been calling for some time for Mrs Grundy to go to the Control Tower as she had won the draw for a trip in a helicopter. I positioned the Hiller in front of the crowd, the doors having been removed for ease of access. Mrs Grundy duly appeared and tottered toward the aircraft. Since she was obviously "Having difficulty with the straps" I left the aircraft and walked around to help her strap in. Once Colin was happy he gave me the nod and to ensure things got off to a flying start I tweeked the twistgrip open. Colin grabbed a handful of lever to control the revs and he was off.

The sight of the poor little old lady trapped alone in the helicopter and obviously out of control always shocked then entertained the crowd and Colin did it extremely well.

The Wessex with the underslung piano went equally well but for all the wrong reasons.

The commentator announced its arrival from stage left,

"Carrying one of the priceless pianos from Lord Bath's collection and today being played by Sempini the world renowned concert pianist, who is playing a short selection from his repetoire".

The piano was on the underslung hook, Sempini on the winch wire secured to the piano by a short strop. Inside the piano was a Marker Marine flare.

Honky Tonk music was being played over the PA as Sempini, dressed in top hat and tail coat was flown down the crowd line.

When suddenly,

"Oh dear, Sempini's playing seems to have set fire to the piano".

Sure enough smoke is seen billowing from the piano. The Wessex climbs slowly away and after what seems like an age and at a great height the piano is seen to fall away and crash noisily onto the intersection of the two runways, thus halting all proceedings until the wreckage has been cleared. An unusually good shot for the RAF!

What we did not realise at the time but found out later was that the Marker Marine, usually immersed in seawater, had really set fire to the piano. The heat being such that Sempini had to lean away from the piano which had made it extremely difficult to release the strop. As flames started to lick toward the belly of the aircraft the pilot wanted to release the hook but was prevented from doing so because Sempini was still attached to the piano. Eventually Sempini managed to release the strop and was winched in, allowing the pilot to drop the piano with the result already described.

The moral of the story must be not to take part in Air Days.

6th May 2013, 19:31
ICO: Fantastico! Bravo! :D

Thank you very much for taking the time to relay this amusing story, much appreciated! :ok: Sounds like you all had great fun.

Do you suppose any of these displays was ever captured on cine camera or the like?

The Summerlee Files ..

Jim Summerlee with Westland Whirlwind on lift with Capt. Maclean (not sure which ship)

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-W8o9XrZO11g/UYgCBSSZTrI/AAAAAAAANTQ/Nsk5oGVG0bo/w378-h509/HMS+Eagle%252C+dated+14+June+1956.+Piloted+by+Jim+Summerlee% 252C+with+crewmen+Mitchell+and+Hazel+%2528testing+winch%2529 +off+Cyprus.JPG
Jim Summerlee, with crewmen Mitchell and Hazel (testing winch) aboard HMS Eagle on 14th June 1956, off the coast of Cyprus

Dennis Kenyon
6th May 2013, 20:59
Yes Sir ... With memory jogged it surely was Peter Michael who became Sir Peter. Around the early 1980s when your TV became capable of all sorts of changing picture perspectives with subject words flying off one corner of the screen ... you can thank Peter Michael and his business Quantel for that technology. The word was that he exhibited his system at an electronic show event in America and the resultant interest and orders launched his business to stratospheric levels.

Many of us will remember dear Colin Bates who was sadly lost with a tail rotor failure on his Bell 206. I think he was with Air Hanson at the time.

Regards to all. Dennis Kenyon.

Dennis Kenyon
6th May 2013, 21:01
PS ... the great man was Semprini. A classical and modern concert pianist. DRK

7th May 2013, 08:59
More Summerlee ..

The Navy Days

Freddie Wilcox with Dapper Berrill. Admiral Sir Philip Vian further along the deck

I think the insinuation here is that Wilcox and Berrill had the Admiral in the 'palm of their hands' which, viewed obliquely, could be a little worrying but .. not altogether unusual for Navy types! ;)

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-fZvT69EJ2Vo/UYi-42MrLjI/AAAAAAAANUI/6jse6sHWdh8/w694-h510-no/Waiting+for+the+boat+HMS+Implacable+-+%2528sitting%2529+Danny+Kaye%252C+Jim%252C+Freddie+Wilcox%2 52C+Duncan+Lang%252C+Jack+Hayster%252C+%2528standing%2529+St aff+Type.JPG
Waiting for a Boat: (L-R Seated) Danny Kaye, Jim Summerlee, Freddie Wilcox, Duncan Lang and Jack Hayster. (Standing) A staff type c. 1950's

Back in the days when most people didn't possess massive wardrobes .. but what they had allowed them to appear respectable! ;)

7th May 2013, 10:31
The Whirlwind above coded J ( for Eagle) is a Mk 3 ,XG581 ,photographed in the harbour at Malta circa May 1956. It was allocated to the Ships Flight that year.With the arrival of Mk7s in57 it was allocated to 701 for training but was relegated to instruction at Arbroath after being written off in an accident at the end of 1957. After that it just faded away .

8th May 2013, 06:01
I recall an incident at Biggin Hill where an advertising firm for an underwear manufacturer contacted us and asked that we supply a helicopter with a rope ladder underneath to shoot a commercial for their underwear.

The story line was that a gorgeous girl driving an open Aston Martin would drive down the runway while the helicopter lowered a young man in his underwear, hanging on the ladder, into the seat next to her. Not as easy as it sounds. The poor guy was dragged on the pavement, over the back of the car, over the windshield, almost ran over and eventually success.

I shall admit to old age and the fact that this occurred in 1962 makes it even more hazy but I was not the pilot flying the Bell 47, thank goodness. I don't suppose you can get away with that nowdays.

8th May 2013, 07:37
I don't suppose you can get away with that nowdays.
Oh yes you can.

Watch from about 0.29


8th May 2013, 08:48
Heli1: Grazie Mille!

Thank you for identifying the Whirlwind in question from Summerlee's photos .. even obtaining her registration, much appreciated. :ok:

Nice one TRC! :ok: Were you involved in that production?

Some more 'scantily clad' antics beneath a Bell!


8th May 2013, 20:53
Were you involved in that production?


Had one guy underneath for the formation with the car - he was upside down with his head level with the driver's window of a BMW sports car. Didn't scrape him on the road once.

At the end of the picture we had two people under. I was inside voice marshalling and ready to cut them off if we lost an engine - once they were on the ground, obviously. We'd be SSE - or at least flyaway - once their weight was off.

All CAA approved!

9th May 2013, 07:56
Bravo TRC! :D

For 'Eric the Ferret'

Here's what I have of MPN:

Bell 206B JetRanger II 5H-MPN landing at Bahari (north of Dar es Salaam) in 1986 flying as 'Kilimo 5'

This was a contract I flew (just a teenager back then .. commercial licence fresh in hand) for the UN's Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

We were tasked to assist in the control of Quelea Bird and Desert Locust. We were aided by two teams .. one from the Tanzania Ministry of Agriculture flying unit called 'Kilimo Anga' (literally 'Agricultural Air) based in Arusha, who provided Cessna 185's .. the other was the Desert Locust Control Organisation based in Nairobi who supplied the trusty De Havilland Beaver. Both the 185's and Beavers would support in spraying whereas the Ranger, when not spraying, would serve as a scout to locate the swarms.

This is NOT a swarm .. but a 'normal' size (for Africa) flock of Quelea birds visiting a watering hole

Quelea's in a tree

Before the animal activists get up in arms .. you should firstly know that I am an animal lover myself .. and absolutely mad keen on dogs and horses!

Secondly .. an average size swarm of African Quelea birds can consume upwards of 50 tonnes of grain per day .. causing devastation to rural villages which, if unprotected, would starve. In East Africa the principal crops to be affected by Queleas are cereals such as millet, sorghum, rice and wheat.

Spraying Quelea birds was something of a task, not only because of the irregularity of the areas to be sprayed .. but mainly because this was only ever done at night once the birds had roosted.

It was impossible to carry out this work without hitting the birds as some of them would fly up as you approached the roost. At one point we had snow baffles fitted in order to protect the air intakes. I have to admit though .. it did take a while to get used to the sound of these small creatures banging into the aircraft. However, as they are generally quite small (and very light) their impact was 'relatively' insignificant although .. on one occasion the chin perspex on the pilot's side 'imploded' when .. after hitting what I felt were simply too many of the creatures .. I climbed .. only to slam into a larger flock which were trying to escape the mayhem. Pieces of perspex hit the instrument panel and my legs! Not fun.

The Colonel coming out to greet a landed Savoia

You can tell its the Colonel holding the door .. because .. well what can one say .. he wore those white gloves to the very end of his career!

Eric: You can be thankful that by the time you arrived I had managed to persuade the Colonel to 'consider' a uniform other than tropical whites, citing the fact that deep in the bush while assisting to load chemicals and fuel, this was perhaps not the ideal form of attire. So I was permitted to 'experiment' (under trial) with the khaki coveralls which were eventually worn. However, I was under strict instructions that for all formal meetings with the client, meeting the Tanzania DCA, Ministry of Agriculture and the like .. that the 'whites' had to be put back on! :rolleyes: The Colonel had of course been recently encouraged in Brasil where, with 12 pilots under his charge (operating a fleet of S76's) he discovered (to his delight I should add) that they loved donnig the whites and standing-out from their 'blue slacked' brethren!

By the time you arrived, MPN was probably wearing red stripes. Between the blue and red schemes, she was (for about 3 months) painted in camouflage for a short contract with the TPDF (Tanzanian Army) which involved carrying an armed patrol across what are now Tanzania's western most goldfields.

Regarding ANI .. sadly was never able to get a photo of her before her demise. But, as you may recall .. she was imported from Germany (where she had flown as D-HOOL) and was an ex-Rotorflug bird and still wore Rotorflug's old colours.

ANI's colours

John Eacott
9th May 2013, 09:12
Both the 185's and Beavers would support in spraying whereas the Ranger, when not spraying, would serve as a scout to locate the swarms.


I'm not sure why you persist in calling the 206 variants "Rangers"? The Bell 47J Ranger was the first VIP variant of a Bell (and the first helicopter to carry a US President):


Whereas the Bell 206 is a JetRanger:


Getting to the suspending people below helicopters, I had to transfer a "Who Dares Wins" contestant to a motorcycle underway along a runway, from my BK117. Not at all an easy task as the balance required on the motorbike was a far more difficult task than flying along with a live body on the end of a long line, a few feet off the deck.

No idea what happened to the photos, unfortunately :hmm:

9th May 2013, 09:37
I'm not sure why you persist in calling the 206 variants "Rangers"?

I had a go at him for that some time ago................. :rolleyes:

9th May 2013, 09:53
Hi Savoia

I was half hoping you might have a photo of MPN post birdstrike as it was quite spectacular.

I remember that a result of the incident was the fitting of snow baffles to keep birds out of the intake. A strange fit for an aircraft operating in Africa.

Another issue that was raised was what to do in the event of an accident and the pilot getting covered in chemical. The answer being atropine, the antidote for nerve gas!!!!!!!

I have to say that I am surprised (and gratified) you are still with us after working with what was a seriously toxic chemical.

I remember MPN being re painted locally in what turned out to be paint with zero resistance to engine oil. Nice brown streaks everywhere.

9th May 2013, 13:21
A few images taken only a few weeks back of the ex LAPD Hiller UH-12C helicopter as starred in 'Vertical Challenge - The Hiller Aircraft Story' book by Jay P. Spenser now in U.S. army colors, along with a 12A model converted to the UH-12C based out of Henstridge, UK. Images taken from an Enstrom 280.

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/ag76/Csummers412/Hiller%20Helicopters/CRVanguard2_zps3582ae53.jpg (http://s1299.photobucket.com/user/Csummers412/media/Hiller%20Helicopters/CRVanguard2_zps3582ae53.jpg.html)

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/ag76/Csummers412/Hiller%20Helicopters/CRVanguard3_zps1bcd959f.jpg (http://s1299.photobucket.com/user/Csummers412/media/Hiller%20Helicopters/CRVanguard3_zps1bcd959f.jpg.html)

http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/ag76/Csummers412/Hiller%20Helicopters/CRVanguardcopy_zps3e0d7ec0.jpg (http://s1299.photobucket.com/user/Csummers412/media/Hiller%20Helicopters/CRVanguardcopy_zps3e0d7ec0.jpg.html)

9th May 2013, 20:07
Rotorhead: Great to see the classic Hiller 12 still flying in the UK! :ok:

The Africa Years ..

Eric, thanks for your well wishes. The chemical used (a Fenitrothian derivative) is now a thoroughly banned substance. My heart went out to the Beaver drivers (hmm .. that doesn't sound quite right does it) anyway .. several of whom (having been in the game for many years) suffered from respiratory problems of one kind or another and one of whom had scraped-up enough money together (these were local pilots) to make a medical visit to the US where he had a lung or part of a lung (is that possible?) removed!

Being a 'contact' chemical it was necessarily lethal and, as a result, one tried to do what one could to minimise risk. Obviously I flew with the vents and windows shut and, after a short while a rubber painter's mask arrived from Dar which I also wore. One of the problems was that, spraying at night, it wasn't especially easy to line-up on one's previous swath after making the end of run turn .. so it could sometimes happen that you inadvertently passed through your own spray, until that is, I employed a different pattern of spraying! There are, as you might imagine, many intriguing stories relating to that contract.

It was my first job as a commercial pilot and although I loved flying .. I don't mind saying that I was somewhat relieved when it ended. The risks were just a little too much .. even for someone as eager as I was back then.

Regarding Rangers ..

I'm certain I don't really have to explain that this is colloquialism! And .. its use is not altogether inaccurate as, according to the manufacturer, the 47J, 206, 206L and 429 .. are all Rangers of various kinds!

Nevertheless, now that John, and before him TRC, have both mentioned this .. I shall relent in my further employment of this phrase. I hope this sacrifice causes widespread jubilation !! ;)

Eacott's Westland Sprout in 'Who Dares Wins'

The Sprout with SAS members dangling beneath

Of course this really was an SAS technique .. but one specially reserved for those who had been recently court martialed. Being suspended below the Sprout was an alternative option for those not wishing to be placed in the 'Glasshouse'! ;)

9th May 2013, 21:00

Were the beloved white gloves of the Colonel the same pair that you wore in PNG? ;)

9th May 2013, 21:23
Ah no Adroight .. those were 'RAF leather flying gloves' (below) ..


.. which were in fact a very very light blue colour .. but looked white until they became soiled.

My godfather used to wear white cotton 'ceremonial' gloves (which I was also made to wear as a youngster). However he was not alone .. there were some who also 'picked-up the habit' such as the late great John Dicken!

10th May 2013, 04:44

The video is so funny. We expect as a matter of course here in the US that we can get away with all kinds of idiotic, risky stunts but we expect that our UK ancestors have better sense AND regulations.

10th May 2013, 05:28
In the 60's we used a Bell Ranger N257PH to haul geologists around the mountains of Southeast Alaska so they could crack rocks and do whatever else they do. It invariable included carrying large sacks of rocks back to camp on the beach. The elevations became ridiculous for a non-turbo charged aircraft so I had to inspect each passenger and his bag of rocks prior to departing some high ridge line to make sure we weren't over loaded. There were times when we would load everyone on board, close the doors, pull up the collective and NOTHING happened! To the dismay of the tired geologists I would have to order one of them out of the machine and come back for him later. I have sent Savoia a photo of this aircraft sitting on a mountain top and I appreciate his assistance in publishing them. I apologize in advance for the quality of my photos, many of which were in the form of slides and were later converted to jpeg.

10th May 2013, 08:00
Of Eacott, Australia and Sprouts!

Have you ever heard of a Navy Scout ??

Well, apparently in Australia ..


From the information available .. two Scout helicopters were acquired by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in April 1963 and were operated by the 723 Naval Air Squadron, with the aircraft being rotated aboard the hydrographic survey ship HMAS Moresby.

The RAN Scouts proved the practicalities of operating helicopters from small ships for the RAN, and the RAN operated these helicopters up until 1973, when they were replaced by Bell 206B-1 Kiowas.

The experience with the Scouts aboard HMAS Moresby illustrated the need for a higher-level maintenance regime as a result of operating the helicopters in areas with high concentrations of abrasive coral sand encountered around the Australian coastline and the detrimental effect that it had on the rotor blades, airframe and engine components.

Despite the additional effort to maintain the helicopters, the Scouts were considered to be superior to the seaplanes and flying boats that had previously been used in this role.

One of the Scouts apparently ditched in Wewak Harbour whilst taking off from HMAS Moresby, April 1967, although it was subsequently recovered the aircraft was written off.

11th May 2013, 07:39
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-m_8Kezd2wkA/UY30BpCDc5I/AAAAAAAANcY/5xzy-IRJmxc/w800-h490-no/47J2+N257PH+overlooking+the+Bering+Ice+Field+in+Alaska+in+19 66.jpg
Bell 47J2 N257PH overlooking the Bering Ice Field in Alaska in 1966

The elevations became ridiculous for a non-turbo charged aircraft so I had to inspect each passenger and his bag of rocks prior to departing some high ridge line to make sure we weren't over loaded.

There were times when we would load everyone on board, close the doors, pull up the collective and NOTHING happened!

11th May 2013, 15:27
Hughes 300 (269A) G-AVZC owned by Air Gregory as seen at Middle Wallop in 1968

Brantly B-2B G-ATJY owned by Cy Rose as seen at Middle Wallop in 1968

Brantly 305 G-ASXF operated by Endeavour Aviation as seen at Middle Wallop in 1968

Agusta-Bell 206A JetRanger G-AVZG owned by Endeavour Aviation as seen at Middle Wallop in 1968

These were snapped in the Summer of 1968 whilst completing my Army Air Corps pilot training at Middle Wallop. Hopefully as 212man was probably still in shorts, I won't be contradicted? ;)

12th May 2013, 08:10

Is that Tommy Sopwith at the tail with the engine blanks?

12th May 2013, 18:32
When Ambidextrous sent me the above photos I though "mamma mia .. Ambi has been keeping these wonderful shots hidden away until now!"

Ambidextrous' 'summer snaps' from '68 just happened to capture the very aircraft we have been reviewing on this thread .. and some special craft at that!

Firstly G-AVZC which appeared on page 78 (http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/419023-rotary-nostalgia-thread-78.html) courtesy of PPruNer Wildboy, the son of Wally Wilding. His photos show his dad with "ZC" during his time with Air Gregory.

Then G-ATJY. There are very few images available of this craft so it is great to have this on record. Although bought initially by the aviation enthusiast Douglas Arnold, at the time of the photo she was under the tenure of the late Cy Rose - someone who was a good friend to the Colonel. Cy was also a good friend of The Maestro, Dennis 'the Menace' Kenyon aka Denissimo!

Next we have G-AXSF. Earier in the thread we looked at all of the UK's Brantly 305's (I think there were around 7 in total). They were certainly a rare craft. "SF" was owned by BEAS but operated by Endeavour Aviation at the time of the photo. In fact the Endeavour titles are just visible behind the door.

And finally we have G-AVZG. Again, there are very few images of this craft and which makes Ambi's 'snap' all the more appreciated.

Is that Tommy Sopwith at the tail with the engine blanks?

Oldlae got it in one! :ok:

"ZG" was delivered new by Mann's to Tommy Sopwith just before the Christmas of '67. She was the 13th JetRanger on the British register and Ambi just happened to snap her with Tommy. Fantastico! (I think he even had all his fingers at the time!)

In my email banter with Ambi he wrote: "I remember your Godfather being spoken of with affection by my peers whilst under training (e.g: Hugh Colqhuon) my instructor on Bell 47 Sioux."

This was gratifying to hear but .. I have never heard of Hugh Colqhuon. Is there anyone who could tell me a little more about him. Did he remain in the Army for example?

12th May 2013, 19:33
Hugh Colqhoun, known to his friends as "Huge Balloon" I believe, was a former RA Air OP pilot to the best of my knowledge. He then returned to Middle Wallop as a civilian instructor during the 60's/70's. Unfortunately he was killed whilst flying a Bell 206B Jetranger on a night charter from a private site.:sad:

13th May 2013, 04:08
206A, Low gear with fairings, C-18 engine. Sweet!

13th May 2013, 06:13
Huge balloon and his "Hiller Killer" homemade wine.... Legend :ok:

RIP buddy.

13th May 2013, 06:51
I guess the Brantly et al pictures at Middle Wallop in 68 were at the Helicopter Championships that year , organised by the HCGB ?

13th May 2013, 09:41
It is quite possible there was a Helicopter Championship meeting at that time, there was certainly a World Championship held there in 1973.

In the meantime in 1965 there was an Army Air Corps Day when this beast turned-up ..

Sikorsky CH-37 Mojave visiting Middle Wallop for the Army Air Corps Day in 1965


13th May 2013, 17:13
206A, Low gear with fairings, C-18 engine. Sweet!

When the 206 entered the market in 1967 her aesthetics seemed to shine among her peers, the Hughes 500C (with its 'reverse egg fuselage and 'screaming rear-seat' main transmission) and the FH1100 with its blunt nose and 'gangly' skids.

In terms of a small efficient private transport there really was nothing else like it and, as a result (and as we all know) she went on to become one of the most popular helicopters of the 70's.

In November 1966 Bell sent one of their prototypes (there were three) along with their pilot Joe Mashmann here to Milan where the aircraft was demonstrated to various prospective customers .. one of whom was my godfather. Upon returning to the UK my godfather showed Sebastian de Ferranti the publicity material distributed by Bell. Sebastian's response was to tell my godfather that he thought the JetRanger looked "very sexy". My godfather replied, "I'm glad you said that .. because I ordered two!"

Ferranti Helicopters Agusta-Bell 206A JetRanger G-AWJW. This was Ferranti's second JetRanger

The teardrop shaped nodule beneath the baggage compartment (also present on G-AVZG) was the antenna for the Decca DANAC moving map display the read out for which was mounted atop the instrument panel.

Ferranti's first 206 (G-AVSN) was the fourth 206 on the UK register and was the first non-Bristow JetRanger to be delivered to the UK.

I was very glad to see Ambidextrous ' photo of G-AVZG, she looked wonderful .. and to catch Tommy in the process .. fantastico!

I shall keep my fingers crossed that in years to come I may find two more images I am keen to collect, firstly one of Peter Cadbury with G-CHOC and secondly .. one of Jock Cameron with G-AWGU. More hunting to do.

Ambidextrous: I don't know if this craft will ring and bells with you but .. just in case:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Qiu6OwrI3fo/UZETWsSl3MI/AAAAAAAANh0/eKUCQj1UjjY/w742-h510-no/Westland+AB-47G+Sioux+AH1+XT498+of+the+AAC+Advanced+Rotary+Wing+Flight+a t+Middle+Wallop+14+June+1968+%2528RA+Scholefield%2529.jpg
Agusta-Bell (but delivered by Westland) 47-G AH1 Sioux XT498 of the Army Air Corps Advanced Rotary Wing Flight as seen at Middle Wallop on 14th June 1968 (Photo: RA Scholefield)

Also .. did you ever happen upon someone called Robert Parry, its just that there's a wee write-up about him which reads:

"Flying training commenced in December 1975. Three months after promising the Gunnery Officer at Portland that it would be 18 months before a possible course. He enjoyed the experience, without exception. Jenks taught him the rudiments of life in a Chipmunk. Chris Tinkler and Hugh Colquhoun did the same for the Sioux and basic rotary. A dispute about a rocking Sioux post an engine off resulted in a flurry of white gloves on white helmets from both sides of the cockpit, which amused those who could see from the sloping ground area. Hugh was always informal in his methods."

Robert Parry

13th May 2013, 17:23
Ambi.....the "Beast" is known as the "Moe J Vee"!

If ever there was a "Real Man's Helicopter"....they were it!

Two HUGE Recips....leaking Oil all over the place....in these days it would require an EPA Impact Statement for every landing site.

Huge Cockpit....well isolated from the SLF.....a real Helicopter she was!

Plank Cap
13th May 2013, 18:44
For you Sav,

The front half of Jock's G-AWGU resplendent in the BAH colours of the day. My stepdad stands by the nose of the aircraft, in preparation of requalifying on type. This followed an 8 year layoff from flying after sustaining a serious injury earlier in an unscheduled arrival in another Jetranger, minus running engine!

This photo dates from 1977, Inverness. S61N G-BEDI stands ready for action in the background, my stepdad's next mount after a few hours on the 206. It would appear he got to the aircraft before BA's uniform stores people got to him! Not sure if either aircraft is still with us in some form or other, but sadly my stepdad is not...


13th May 2013, 19:19
Really SASless. All US Army helicopters were named after Native American Indian tribes ,so in this case it was surely pronounced the "Mo ha vee" not the "Mo ja vee "?
Sergei Sikorsky was with the H-37 when the type was based with the US army in Europe,serving his time as a mechanic I believe .Imgine he had plenty of work keeping it serviceable.
Years later I came across a bunch of them in a yard next to Davis Monthan in Arizona ,minus their engines and instruments etc that had been sold off.i went to examine more closely but was warned off by the owner who pointed out that the cabins were popular hiding places for the local rattlers!

13th May 2013, 22:42
............Not sure if either aircraft is still with us in some form or other, but sadly my stepdad is not...

Ah, dear old Rupert. We joined the RN together and just over two weeks ago the survivors of our entry had a 50th anniversary weekend celebration of that event at the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth - see group photo here (http://www.pprune.org/where-they-now/479934-rn-aircrew-cadet-entry-britannia-royal-naval-college-dartmouth-28-april-1963-a-2.html). At our dinner Rupert's name was read out as one of those no longer with us and we remembered him in our toast to Absent Friends. A greatly missed pal.

Nigel Osborn
14th May 2013, 02:52
My wife & I shared a house in Singapore with Rupert & his wife along with Colin Howgil, a Royal Marine pilot, & his wife, great happy days in 848! Rupert had been planning to visit here but tragically suddenly died before we could meet up.

14th May 2013, 03:51
G-AWGU S/n 8044 still alive as A7-HAO residing in Doha.


Plank Cap
14th May 2013, 06:56
CharlieOneSix and Nigel, thanks for your kind comments re. my late step father, Rupert Wilson 1940-2010.
ex RN, Bristow, BAH, Shell Brunei, KLM Helicopters, East Asia Airlines, Flight Safety.

14th May 2013, 07:43
Sadly that particular machine does not figure in my novel of a logbook, many others but not that one. By June 1968 they'd let me loose on a Scout, yeehah!
With fraternal greetings,

14th May 2013, 08:39
Ambi: I was told the Scout had somewhat 'brick like' autorotative qualities but .. that could just have been a malicious rumour!

Planko: Sorry about papa-in-law. There's always something special about being able to share the experience of flight with family members who are fellow flyers.

Thanks for the photo of "GU" .. wonderful! To the best of my knowledge G-BEDI ended-up as N754WN but .. I do not know whether she is still serviceable.

The Colonel at the controls of British Airways Agusta-Bell 206A (converted to a B) JetRanger G-AWGU at the Beehive (LGW) in 1978

14th May 2013, 08:41
This is a fantastic thread, I have been involved with the 206 since the age of 8, now 44, I am lucky that I have flown the 206 for many many years and i still love it today. I thought I would do the log book crawl and list a few tat i have flown for fun, most of which have featured here

G-WLLY (was also rogr)

They are the ones that I can find easily, there are more I flew once and have forgotten, it is such a great helicopter, I am now lucky to be selling new Bells for Bell in the UK, but the 206 is still my regular hack and I still love it!

14th May 2013, 08:51
Lol !! Wow, what a great list! Bravo LB! :D

Of course several of your 'conquests' have featured on this thread.

I think we shall have to place a 'gentle burden' upon you to post some of the snaps you may have collected over the years! ;)

Brilliant Stuff
14th May 2013, 13:28
Snap on G-ONOW & G-OCST.:ok::ok::ok:

Last I heard G-ONOW has gone stateside.

14th May 2013, 14:36
The Scout's autorotative qualities was once described to me as being akin to a set of streamlined Car Keys.

Anthony Supplebottom
14th May 2013, 14:45

Always knew someone would register an aircraft after me. :E

14th May 2013, 16:02
I will dig out some pics and put them up, also looking for pics found


G-BOTM used to belong to Ian Botham, I bought it from a builder in Wales re furbished her and sold her on.

14th May 2013, 18:27

If that was the Xavier a/c based in Kerry, I may have a few pics :ok:

15th May 2013, 09:39
On the previous page we touched upon the origins of the 206 and it seemed only right therefore to give this a little more treatment.

The Bell 206: From Ugly Duckling to Sleek Cygnet

For two decades the Bell 206 JetRanger headlined civilian helicopter sales around the globe and flew in every environment from the Sahara Desert to Antarctica and was employed in (and in many cases pioneered) a diversity of operations .. anything and everything from magnetic surveys to fighting fires.

Here's a summary of the 206's development timeline:

Early Spring 1965: Bell is conscious that its contestant for the US Army's Light Observation Helicopter contract (LOH) is not the favourite and begins considering 'alternatives' for the YOH-4 in the event that it is not selected.

May 1965: The Hughes OH-6 is selected as winner of the US Army's LOH contract.

May 1965: Bell hire's industrial designer Charles Butler to give the YOH-4 a complete make-over. Butler designs what is now the 206.

July 1965: Construction begins on the first Bell 206 prototype, s/n 001 N8560F

Fall 1965: Bell President Edwin Ducayet names the 206 .. the "JetRanger"

Fall 1965: Bell signs an agreement with Costruzioni Aeronautiche Giovanni Agusta SpA (aka Agusta) to manufacture and distribute the 206 in Europe.

12th October 1965: A full-scale mock-up of the JetRanger is presented at America's NBAA meeting. At this meeting Bell receives its first orders for the 206.

10th January 1966: The 206 prototype s/n 001 N8560F makes it first test flight.

23rd January 1966: The 206 is exhibited at Helicopter Association of America convention in Arlington Texas. More orders for the type are received.

February 1966: Construction begins on prototypes s/n 002 N8590F and s/n 003 N1300X

20th October 1966: The Bell 206A JetRanger receives FAA type certification.

November 1966: One of Bell's JetRanger prototypes is shipped to Italy and conducts demonstration/publicity flights in Milan and Rome with Bell pilot Joe Mashmann. European orders are received.

13th January 1967: Bell delivers its first JetRanger to customer Harry Holly, President of Hollymatic Corporation of Illinois.

February 1967: JetRanger s/n 006 is sent to Agusta to serve as a European demonstrator.

March 1967: Agusta delivers the UK's first JetRanger c/n 8004 to Bristow Helicopters G-AVIG. Two additional JetRangers are delivered at the same time (also to Bristow): c/n 8007 G-AVIH and c/n 8011 G-AVII.

July 1967: Agusta delivers the UK's fourth JetRanger (and the first non-Bristow 206 in the UK) c/n 8008 G-AVSN to Ferranti Helicopters. (Well I had to put that in!) :E

The JetRanger's origins .. the Bell D-250 YOH-4 developed as a contestant for the US Army's Light Observation Helicopter contract which in May 1965 was awarded to the Hughes Aircraft Company. The failure of the YOH-4 is what gave birth to the development of the JetRanger

During the evaluation between the final three contenders for the LOH contract, the US Army nicknamed Bell's YOH-4 entrant the 'Ugly Duckling' .. citing that it was the worst looking of the three contenders.

After doing his 'magic' .. Charles Butler's re-worked version of Bell's D-250 looked like this ..

Full-scale mock-up of the 206 as presented at the NBAA meeting on 12th October 1965 (Note the drop-down baggage door)

In November 1966 Bell sent one of their prototypes (there were three) along with their pilot Joe Mashmann here to Milan where the aircraft was demonstrated to various prospective customers ..

Bell 206 prototype s/n 001 N8560F

Bell 206 prototype s/n 002 N8590F (Spring 1966)

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Mluj5V_WJN0/UZNK6JckHeI/AAAAAAAANjI/jzoYkCK43CA/s450-no/Bell+206A+JetRanger+sn+3+N1300X+%2528with+original+external+ cargo+sling%2529.jpg
Bell 206 prototype s/n 003 N1300X (Note the 206's very first cargo sling)

Upon returning to the UK my godfather showed Sebastian de Ferranti the publicity material distributed by Bell.

Bell Helicopter publicity on the JetRanger as made available in Milan and Rome in November 1966

Related Posts:

JetRanger Origins (http://www.pprune.org/7177107-post1535.html)

Bell Helicopter: A Potted History (http://www.pprune.org/6750424-post916.html)

15th May 2013, 11:00

Following on from Ambidextrous' Brantly 305 photo taken at Middle Wallop on page 105 (http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/419023-rotary-nostalgia-thread-105.html) ..

More 305 in the UK ..

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-Q_bpZxrRm6U/UZNoo-Kb48I/AAAAAAAANlQ/VfxxfbpGpCI/w640-h505-no/Barbara+Castle+1967.+Labour+MP+and+Minister+of+Transport.+Ar riving+by+helicopter+on+a+visit+to+the+Rover+factory+at+Peng ham+in+Wales.png
A Brantly 305 (wearing the BEAS emblem on the upper fuselage) delivers Labour MP and Minister for Transport, Barbara Castle, to the Rover factory in Pengham, Wales in 1967

15th May 2013, 17:25

héliport de héli-union dans l'année 1968

15th May 2013, 18:03
I am sure this must look like a very unglamorous contraption to some of you corporate pilots but sometimes we did a LOT to make a buck back in the day.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-9yHHbDqpeoM/UZPakRmsjRI/AAAAAAAANmQ/pkN9JlPirco/w580-h453-no/Sikorsky+S-55+N753A+on+survey+at+Southern+Lake+%2528175+miles+north+of+ Eskimo+Point%252C+Canada%2529.jpg

S55 N753A on survey at Southern Lake 175nm north of Eskimo Point, Canada

Ahh de Havilland
16th May 2013, 10:46
Hi Savoia

Hate to correct your normally impecable information but Brantly G-ASXF pictured at Middle Wallop in 1968 doesn't have Endeavour titles... they looks to me like "Everards Brewery Ltd". Although my eyesight may be failing

Tommy Sopwith had already replaced his Brantly 305 with JetRanger G-AVZG which can be seen parked behind G-ASXF. Tommy's 305 was G-ATSJ.

Everards using G-ASXF makes sense as Tony Everard (mentioned earlier in this magnificent thread) had sold his B2 G-ARZI in 1967 and didn't buy his Enstrom G-BALE until 1973.

I had always wondered why there was a gap in his helicopter ownership and Rotary Nostalgia has once again plugged the gap.

All the best

Aah de Havilland

16th May 2013, 12:56
I am sure this must look like a very unglamorous contraption to some of you corporate pilots but sometimes we did a LOT to make a buck back in the day.
S55 N753A on survey at Southern Lake 175nm north of Eskimo Point, Canada

Rotor engagement on a windy day must have been fun with that contraption out front. Has anyone got the photo from the early 60's of a RN Whirlwind (S55) engaging on a carrier and the main rotor has flexed down right to the deck - it was in a Flight Safety poster of the time or in "Cockpit" - thought I had a copy but can't find it.

Ahh de Havilland
16th May 2013, 15:16
It’s great to see all the memories of helicopter owners ofthe past, but I wonder if anyone can shed any light on a name that has beenmentioned in passing in this thread, but who seems to have been a long termoperator: A Smith (Culcheth) Ltd.

Over a twenty year period, running 1968 to 1978, his company had successively: G-AWDU Brantly B2B, G-AVTE & G-AZVN JetRangers andfinally G-BBHV Gazelle.

My guess is that the company was a nominee and not the actualowner. Interestingly there have been 3attempts by the authorities to strike the company from the Companies House registerbut three times it has been reinstated even though there are no directors etc. The address in G-INFO doesn’t help either; it was originally a brewerybut that closed in the 1950s.

Surely the owner of these a/c must have been someone notableand a real enthusiast for helicopter flight, but who?

16th May 2013, 17:09
Ahh .. de Havilland .. you are absolutely correct. Someone buy that man a beer!

Hate to correct your normally impeccable information ..

I'm not worried about getting it wrong .. so long as we eventually get it right .. and which, thanks to your eagle-eyed observations .. we have done! :ok:

I think that with you and Heli1 we must have the keenest eyes on the thread! ;)

Actually its just a matter of laziness on my part for I did not cross-reference with earlier posts to verify the registration of the 305 to check that it tallied with that previously mentioned for Tommy and when I saw that it was registered to BEAS simply assumed it was on lease to Endeavour. The 'E' at the start of the titles completed the illusion!

Ah de Havilland's detective work is proved correct as the titles on G-ASXF (once sufficiently magnified) are indeed those belonging to Everards Brewery Ltd.

Would be nice to learn more about Tony Everard. Though my godfather knew him and the name was mentioned (I think in relation to the HCGB?) I know nothing more but .. I think Denissimo knew him fairly well.

Similarly, it would be great to discover (as you say) a little more about Smith/Culcheth.

In the meantime ..

Bell 206A G-AVTE owned by BSR Limited of Staffordshire as seen at it Birmingham International Airport c. 1968

G-AVTE at Birmingham c. 1968 - Lockheed C130 Hercules sharing the ramp

G-AVTE was delivered to BSR in August 1967. She was the 10th JetRanger registered in the UK, was the second non-Bristow JetRanger to be delivered and was the first Bell-built JetRanger in Britain.

In 1970 she was purchased (according to the record) by A. Smith (Culcheth) Ltd. of 38 Bond Street, Leigh, Lancashire. Does anyone know who Smith/Culcheth was/were?

16th May 2013, 21:45
Savoia......Tony Everard was the founder of the HCGB circa 1966 and of course owner of Everards Brewery,a family business. He was an enthusiastic helicopter owner and pilot,very supportive of the club activities throughout his life and a real gent........sadly missed by the club.

17th May 2013, 04:15
We were about 75 km north of the beach when the helicopter my friend was flying started losing oil pressure. By the time he reached the beach at Ameland the old girl was ready to quit. We changed the engine on the beach by slinging another one out and the engineers wrestled it into place in the blasting sand and wind created by the hovering helicopter.


18th May 2013, 08:01
.. the engineers wrestled it into place in the blasting sand and wind created by the hovering helicopter.

Sounds like they certainly earned their beer that night!

More Bell & Brantly

Agusta-Bell 206A JetRanger OO-COP as seen in Belgium c. mid-70's

Some of the early 'A' model 206's were delivered with a uniquely shaped upper cowling (as per the above) which accommodated a centrally positioned ventilation 'hole'. Additionally, the lower portion of the cowling sported a half-moon shaped 'grilled' vent.

Ferranti's first JetRanger (G-AVSN) was delivered looking like this until about 1968-9 when the 'standard' one-piece upper cowling was installed.

Brantly 305 TF-DIV as seen in Reykjavik, Iceland in June 1972

Surely something of a rarity .. not only an Icelandic Brantly 305, but one wearing floats! The record states that she was bought by an Andre Heioberg in December 1966.

Another rare Brantly would have been the Tanzanian registered 5H-MNJ, also a 305 model. Quite how the 305 would have performed in such an environment one can only speculate but, suffice it to say .. it is doubtful whether the craft would have had an excess of power. How a 305 even ended-up in East Africa I am not sure but am guessing it may have been an initiative of the late Freddie Wilcox.

18th May 2013, 08:40
The very early Agusta J/Rs had the forward cowling originally installed with 'hundreds' of 10/32 screws into anchor nuts (what an absolute pain in the :mad:) instead of the later more sensibly designed dzus fasteners and ejectors around the periphery. MUCH better :D

I worked for Freddie in East Africa, and yes I believe there had been a Brantley based out there before I arrived. In the event my sojourn in the various countries around that part of the Continent was with and on-board a lovely old girl, Agusta 47J2, 5Y-AKD...... my, there are some stories to tell in my dotage (if anyone would have the patience to listen) ;)

And Freddie was a natural and damn good pilot, never had a problem flying with him. I believe he was the Queen Mum's pilot at one stage, so you don't get to do that if you are just the average line driver.

Happy memories (when I had hair LOL) - VFR

18th May 2013, 17:21
You like the first jet ranger? we have in france in 1970s


Bell 206A F-BSUY est à Aérodrome de Guyancourt dans l'année 1978.

à l'arrière plus loin ce trouve SOCATA Rallye

FH1100 Pilot
18th May 2013, 17:57
Sav, that intake cowling you talk about is just the original snow baffle for the 206A. Pretty, ain't it? You can see the original intake openings exposed on the sides, which they are in case the forward intake gets clogged. The later snow kit baffles also allowed for this but were much smaller and simpler in execution.

And btw, what a flashback! I clearly remember seeing that very Bell ad you posted - the one with those five guys heading out to the JetRanger with their briefcases/suitcases/sales bags (two apiece!). Man I had to be, like, 11 or 12. Can't remember which magazine though. Sexy then, and sexy now, that 206.

And now, after a lifetime of flying a later version of that model, I wonder what they thought they were going to do with the leftover bags that wouldn't fit into the boot...leave them behind? The baggage extender hadn't even been invented yet! And I do hope they weren't expecting to fly for more than 15 minutes with all that load in the ship. Still fun to see again and reminisce about what got me into this crazy industry.

industry insider
19th May 2013, 02:12
G-AVZG in Post 2097 would have the the predecessor of G-BASE, both being Endeavour Motors aircraft.....Sav?

19th May 2013, 20:25
VFR wrote:
The very early Agusta J/R's had the forward cowling originally installed with 'hundreds' of 10/32 screws into anchor nuts ..

VFR: I'm sure these must have been a 'delight' to work with! ;) Look forward to catching-up with you and learning a little more about your days with Freddie! :ok:

FH1100 wrote:
Sav, that intake cowling you talk about is just the original snow baffle for the 206A.

1100: Thank you for this tidbit, I never knew that. I am still wondering though whether there may have been another type of cowling as I do have a photo showing what appears to be a one-piece unit with a central hole and which totally covers the normal air intakes .

Industry Insider wrote:
G-AVZG in Post 2097 would have the the predecessor of G-BASE, both being Endeavour Motors aircraft ..

Correct Amico! :ok:


Tommy's aircraft line-up (the one's we know about) go something like this:

Brantly 305 G-ATSJ, purchased in May 1966

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-DAjP65HBC30/UZkpU8HbA6I/AAAAAAAANqY/sYfZ1Kp4LkU/w512-h340-no/Endeavour+Aviation+AB206A+G-AVZG+Jetranger+Middle+Wallop+1968+%2528Tim+Oates%2529+Ambide xtrous.JPG
Bell 206A G-AVZG, purchased in December 1967 (Photo: Ambidextrous)

Bell 206B G-BASE, purchased in May 1973 (Photo: Peter Nicholson)

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-XFDEAu8QrYY/UZkpU5kwseI/AAAAAAAANqU/iGu1-i_zsCA/w512-h296-no/GINA+Leavesden+1981+after+respray+by+HPB+Aviation+%2528Adria n+Batchelor%2529+s.jpg
AS350B G-GINA, purchased in May 1978 (Photo: Adrian Batchelor)

AS350B G-IINA, purchased in December 1990 (Photo: Helipixman)

~ ~ ~

The Crewdson Files:

From the UK's 'Indy (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/notes-from-a-small-island-is-sealand-an-independent-micronation-or-an-illegal-fortress-8617991.html)' newspaper, an article about 'Forts Roughs' which makes reference to the use of a helicopter (and pilot) which I am fairly certain was the late great John Crewdson:

They lured Roy to a meeting in Austria, and meanwhile, sent a helicopter to the fort. The sole occupant, Michael, was suspicious. But he let them land, only to find himself taken prisoner for several days. After his release, he was reunited with his father, by then furious that his son had let the interlopers outwit him. His mother was just as harsh. "You've thrown away our life's work," she hissed. Once everyone had calmed down, they discussed what should be done.

"We were going to go out in an inflatable, and scale [Sealand] using ladders," Michael told me, in his characteristically matter-of-fact tone. Instead, the Bateses persuaded a friend who had worked as a stunt pilot in a couple of James Bond films to fly them and two mates out in his helicopter. They arrived at dawn, approaching into the wind so the bad guys wouldn't hear the hum of the rotors.

Michael had a sawn-off shotgun. The others had pistols. They couldn't land the helicopter, so the pilot held the machine in a hover 40 foot up, while Michael and his dad shinned down ropes they had tied to the seats. The enemy emerged to see what the noise was. As Michael hit the deck, the butt of his gun smacked against it, and the thing fired, almost blowing his head off. Terrified, the Dutch and German heavies surrendered. The battle was over.

The unwanted guests were sent packing, with the exception of a German lawyer named Gernot Putz. As the weeks went by, the German authorities became concerned about Putz's fate. Finally, they sent out a diplomat from their embassy in London to sue for his release. Which brings us to the third FCO observation: that Sealand lacks "the ability to conduct international relations". Clearly this wasn't the case back in 1978.

~ ~ ~

FH1100 wrote:
Sexy then, and sexy now, that 206.

I have to confess that these days there really are more comfortable craft around but .. she will (for me) remain one of the most nostalgic rotorcraft of all time!

Ahh de Havilland
20th May 2013, 12:43
To pick up on a previous topic, here are a few snippets of information on Gay Absalom’s family and their rotary exploits.

As posted by Savoia on page 56, her father Rowland Absalom featured in a 1965 British Pathe news itemabout him commuting by helicopter from home in Hertfordshire to work Sidcup,Kent. Search Results - British Pathé (http://www.britishpathe.com/video/helicopter-to-work‎)

The featured helicopter was Brantly G-ASXD, registered jointly to United Marine (1939) and Kebell Developments and in the film he can be seen approaching a building with the titles United Marine. Kebbell Developments was founded by Charles Kebbell, who was a Kiwi and a wartime RAF pilot, who had married Meryl Absalom, Rowland’s sister, and went to work for her father’s building firm before setting up on his own.

In an earlier posting by Savoia there was a cutting about the Trophy Championship meeting of the Helicopter Club of Great Britain that was organized by Rowland Absalom and during which the winners of the helicopter treasure hunt were "Charles Kebbell in his Brantly B2B and his navigator-son Nicholas".

Rowland Absalom had a string of helicopters registered to United Marine: G-ASXD, followed by JetRanger G-AYBE, and finally Gazelle G-BAGJ. The Gazelle carried the logo & titles of Point-to-Point Helicopters, which turns out to have the same registered office as United Marine. So it looks like Rowland owned that company, which was formed in 1968 and had JetRanger G-AWJL and Hughes 300 G-BABN & G-BBIP. They were also reported by Flight to have a Hughes 500 but I haven’t been able to identify that one.

Point-to-Point was reported to have purchased the helicopter operation of Air Gregory, but I can’t confirm this. Both United Marine & Point-to Point seem to disappear around 1979 but what happened I don’t know.

It’s interesting how small the rotary world was in the 1960’s. Can anyone add any more to the story?

Dennis Kenyon
20th May 2013, 20:14
Not sure this amounts to much but I spoke with Rowland Absolum very many times in the 1970s and early 80s and ditto his super daughter Gay Absolum who later became Gay Barrett of course when she married the AVM. Gay once flew for my company when she piloted Enstrom G-PALS in the "To the Manor Born" TV series.

In 1983, I purchased the final stock of Rowland Absolum's Point to Point's business spares holding for my new business of Skyline Helicopters. A lovely chap who seemed to have time to chat with everyone. Regards to all. Dennis K.

Dennis Kenyon
20th May 2013, 20:23
Just another snippet prompted by the G-GINA AS350 parked on the north side of Shoreham Airport. Tommy Sopwith routinely parked his machine there close to the A 27 perhaps, but I'm posting just to note the sad closing of the Sussex Pad .. a pub that had been my home for a year circa 2001 after my March 2000 horror. Wally Pack's lovely old pub and restaurant now so sorely missed by the usual Shoreham brigade. Anyone know if its still possible to use the adjacent helipad? Dennis K.

21st May 2013, 07:44
Memory suggests Rowland Absolum did own Air Gregory and that Gay flew for it. Didn't they have a Lama at one time ?
I wonder where Gay is now??

21st May 2013, 12:32
Yes, Mr Absolom owned Air Gregory: no, not Lama, an Al II (nearly as good)
:) ~ VFR

Ahh de Havilland
22nd May 2013, 09:44
They had two Allouettes - G-AVEE and its replacement G-BBJE - there are pictures of these in this thread, including movie apparances in the 'Copter Kids'

22nd May 2013, 19:14
With thanks to J.Eacott (Page 105-2095) The resident 'Hawkeye' squadron at Sharjah, TOS were not averse to venturing offshore, without water wings & despite being beyond autorotative distance of the shoreline. With the Scout having the autorotation characteristics of a 'brick built privy' this task was approached with some trepidation! :D


HMS Tartar (since sold to the Indonesian Navy).


Good Vibs
22nd May 2013, 20:09
Nice photos.
I just love the amount of "overwater gear" one is carrying!

23rd May 2013, 04:16
Here is a photo of a Hiller 12E over Yukon, CA circa 1965. It was flown in support of Keno Hill Mine and operated by Klondike Helicopters.


27th May 2013, 21:52
Just reading the biography of the HAI chairman in 2004 Jim Church. When he worked for Bristows post Vietnam War, he got posted after the North Sea to the new Bristow ops in East Hartford flying Bell 212 for corporate customers.

Thee also mention of the likes of the Radio Corporation of America and Mack Trucke having the 212 for corporate use not sure if its implying they used Bristows for their corporate ops

Came across a photo of Mack Trucks Bell 212 below


Helispot : Photos : ID 3334 : Bell 212/UH1N Twin Huey : N12MT : Mack Trucks (http://www.helispot.com/photos/3334-Bell+212+UH1N+Twin+Huey+N12MT+Mack+Trucks/)

Does anyone know of these two companies and thei flight ops department in the 70s and 80s?


28th May 2013, 05:15
Here is one for you old Hiller buffs. This was taken on the very North coast of Alaska, near the Canadian border in the early 60's. None of the passengers liked the aircraft because at cruise speed the nose was so low they couldn't see forward. In fact, the pilot occasionally had to strain a little.


Ahh de Havilland
6th Jun 2013, 21:00
Mack Trucks established its flight in 1965 soon after the appointment of a proponent of business aviation, Zenon C.R. Hansen, as company President. The flight department was known as Bulldog Airlines (after the company logo) and each aircraft was named “Mack” with the addition of a number signifying its sequence in the fleet. Most of the Bulldog Airlines fleet was fixed wing (2x Beech 18, HS125, Volpar Turboliner, 2x Learjet, Falcon 20, Chieftan, Merlin).

The Rotary wing fleet in a little harder to identify and that is generally from the registrations utilized by Mack. Initially they used registrations N10~1B with the third digit ~ representing the fleet no, then later N~~MT with ~~ being the fleet number. Mack were known to have a JetRanger in addition to the Bell 212, but the rest of what follows is supposition based on the registrations. So we have: N10MT FH-1100, two Bell 212s both using N12MT, N14MT JetRanger, N14MT Gazelle (later became G-BKLS/G-TURP), N12MT S-76.

There are also N1041B & N16MT Bell 47s, and N16MT Robinson R22, but my suspicion is that they are probably not Mack, but quite a fleet all things considered.

There is also a Hiller YH-32-UH Hornet that was registered as N1041B, however very few of these were made for the US military and I don’t know enough about this type to know if they ended on the civil market, but I doubt it, so its unlikely to be a Mack aircraft.

21st Jun 2013, 13:59
Reports of its demise a few pages back were exaggerated.

Not quite ready to fly again but will be soon.


Dennis Kenyon
21st Jun 2013, 22:14
How good to see Enstrom G-BDKD looking so good in her new paint job and about to fly again. Just checked my log book to find I carried out her first ever Certificate of Airworthiness test flight as a new import at Shoreham Airport on 10th October 1975. I believe she was the first 28A model to arrive with the new 'vertical console' a la the later 280C 'Shark' models.

Trying to recall her sale but I'm pretty sure it was to that super Mini racer, Nick Cole who traded at Lydd Airport in those days as Business Air Travel. To me the 'Bad Dog' tag was never really appropriate for such a pretty design... I do remember demonstrating here to the Sussex Police later in October 75.

Regards to all Enstrom 28A fanciers! Dennis K.

25th Jun 2013, 15:33

OO-CWH SE3130 Alouette II for Sabena in Belgian congo many years ago installed blades

26th Jun 2013, 09:08

I have posted some GP archive in a 'British GP set' on: flickr.com/photos/1helicopterppl

please feel free to brouse & use any photo's here on Rotorheads if you wish

12th Jul 2013, 10:29
Hi Savoia.
Reg is VH-TXT , a 206B II (1769). Operator is Jayrow Helicopters. It was exported to New Zealand in December 1983 as ZK-HXT. The machine in the background appears to be VH-BLP a 206B III (2441) which crashed after an LTE incident at Lake Eildon in Victoria in March 1983.
Hope Ths Helps

12th Jul 2013, 10:34
Hi Savoia.
Reg is VH-TXT , a 206B II (1769). Operator is Jayrow Helicopters. It was exported to New Zealand in December 1983 as ZK-HXT. The machine in the background appears to be VH-BLP a 206B III (2441) which crashed after an LTE incident at Lake Eildon in Victoria in March 1983.
Hope This Helps

13th Jul 2013, 05:55
Hi Savoia,
a few details on the above.
Helicopter Utilities registered the machine (c/n.19) on 27.12.66.
On May 8th 1969 the aircraft was damaged in a botched auto-rotation practice at Towra Point,New South Wales.It was repaired and subsequently exported to Fiji as DQ-FBZ (as you indicated) on 15 February 1973. It was restored to the register on March 17th 1976. On February 10th 1977 it was again damaged in a landing accident at Hoxton Park, New South Wales when an excessive tail down attitude was adopted to wash off airspeed. It was subsequently struck off the Australian Civil Aircraft Register on December 16th 1977. It's current whereabouts are unknown.

Anthony Supplebottom
16th Jul 2013, 06:58
Came across this pic in an article (http://www.usaukonline.com/the-woman/22203-joe-famolare-designer-of-the-iconic-seventies-get-there-platform-shoe-dies-at-82.html) yesterday and thought it could be of interest.

Fashion designer Joe Famolare beside his Gazelle in the US c.1970's -


What do you suppose the white phone on the side of the instrument panel is for? Talking to the pilot? :E

16th Jul 2013, 08:41
What do you suppose the white phone on the side of the instrument panel is for? Talking to the pilot?

Look up when "car phones" were first used in the USA.

I would say it is a real telephone. Maybe not so successful in flight though!


My first "mobile" looked like this one -


16th Jul 2013, 09:32
Reminds me of an aircraft at Air Hanson circa 1988. A crew room conversation amongst engineers resulted in one engineer stating that G-1234 looked good with it's new car phone.
Blanks looks from the avionics engineers followed by an exodus to look at this new device.

Turned out that the owner had just called in the local car phone company who had installed it with no mod(obviously) and more importantly had drilled holes in the structure
(and wiring!!!) wherever they felt like it.

Much fun and expense sorting out the mess

Comms Boy
16th Jul 2013, 10:27
Ahh, that takes me back!
In the UK there was a VHF mobile phone system called 'System 4'
Worked near the VHF marine band.
One of the phones i had (Storno 5000) has a 50W amplifier in it and drew close on 20Amps at 12V when used!
Not surprisingly you had to have the engine running to make a call!

The system was switched off in the early 80's when cellular took over.
How technology moves on.
The Storno was about £5000 to buy, most people rented.

17th Jul 2013, 09:09
Those were days... "Hallo, Operator"? :)

http://s9.postimg.org/vciptat9n/Cabin_phone.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/vciptat9n/)

19th Jul 2013, 01:34
Those old bag phones worked too well for the cell phone companies, I think. They had teriffic range. I (illegally in the US) used one in our airplane now and then and you could call almost anywhere at any time. The small ones don't have the output to get too far.:O

19th Jul 2013, 09:53

La République de l'aviation Alouette II est au Yacht Club de Montréal, Quebec, l'année 1958

Monkey Boy
8th Aug 2013, 16:25
I've been reading Pete Townsend's autobiography lately, and there's a small piece where he mentions that during a band meeting Roger Daltry flew in on a "twin engined Jet Ranger" [sic] which he claimed he had just bought? It was circa 1973 I suppose? Did he ever own one, or as I suspect, just a charter?

8th Aug 2013, 16:49
BEA Agusta-Bell 206A JetRanger G-AWGU (aka the 'Jock Strap') as seen at Wooton Bridge on the Isle of Wight on 30th August 1969

Most likely distinct from the occasion to which you refer but .. as per the above; Roger Daltry flew aboard BEA's G-AWGU on the above given date on a charter for Track Records to attend the Isle of Wight Festival.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-1S3R5NZ45nA/TzfDO25yWqI/AAAAAAAAHz0/3JuA7P2_Iz4/s49-no/Black+Ribbon.png (http://www.pprune.org/7853980-post125.html)

8th Aug 2013, 19:44
In 1977 I was offered a job with a helicopter company based at Brands Hatch run by a very pleasant ex-Army chap who I believe went on to play a part in the European Helicopter outfit at Denham. The 206 he ran at Brands was reputedly owned by Roger Daltry.

G. :ok:

8th Aug 2013, 20:11
I heard that after I left the UK (in the 1980's) a company was set-up called 'Brands Hatch Helicopters' but .. the company which existed there in the 1970's was called Shawline and operated 206's and 47's (if I remember correctly).

Monkey Boy
9th Aug 2013, 08:32
Thank you all - the Track Records charter was too early to be the one he owned (although that does get a brief mention in the book), must be the Brands Hatch one, the book mentions it took him to a meeting at their studios and then back to his house in West Sussex.

Apparently he bought it from the money he made from the film Lisztomania, which was released in 1975, so that ties in nicely with the Brands Hatch theory.

9th Aug 2013, 11:02
Not sure if it is this particular 206 but didn't CB Helicopters have a management contract with Daltry and had his 206 on their AOC when they first started their charter service out of what was then Battersea Heliport?

9th Aug 2013, 12:40
Shawline was Mike Barratt......super bloke.Where is he now I wonder?

9th Aug 2013, 15:09
Some responses to past posts:

Chopper 2004: Your shot of the Mac Trucks (aka Bulldog Airways) 212 depicts something of a rarity for while VIP 212's were plentiful in the military and government .. civilian VIP 212's were less common. It would be wonderful to track down some additional images of "Mack XII" as well as the JetRanger. Shall post some military VIP 212's in the days ahead.

Gaseous: Great to see your progress with the 'Bad Kid' (G-BDKD). Please keep us informed about her big day .. when she finally gets to go flying again!

1helicopterppl: Thank you for the link to your photo album, some great shots there. :ok: Perhaps Brilliant Stuff could use one of more of them for his monthly calendar? Will use what I can for this thread .. perhaps a couple of the S61's (in particular the Irish Helicopters ship) and maybe one of the Dauphins.

JetRangerJunkie: Thank you for your posts regarding the 206's at Moorabbin as well as details on the Helicopter Utilities FH1100, much appreciated.

RV: Thank God one doesn't have to walk around with those massive car battery 'mobile' phones anymore. I remember David Sale's no.2 lugging such a contraption about Hayes Heliport when they were flying P&O's 365N.

ericferret: G-1234 .. ah yes, remember it well! ;) You'll have to give me a hint of the craft in question next time our paths cross!

MB/FC1: Certainly seems as if Daltrey may have owned a 206 from the comments which have emerged. Re: CB Helicopters .. a couple of their former craft have featured previously on this thread, namely the ex-Ferranti managed G-BBBM which was bought by Michael Coombs in 1984 (who I think in turn leased the a/c to CB) as well as Tommy Sopwith's former steed G-BASE which was registered to the CB Group in 1990 (although to the best of my knowledge, Beaman had been leasing this from Hanson's for some time prior to this).

Monkey Boy
9th Aug 2013, 15:38
Found an article on the internet which makes interesting reading from 1983:

"Carl Beaman's company is in the best tradition of calculated business gambles and private enterprise. When he left the Fleet Air Arm in 1969 he couldn't face the prospect of joining all his contemporaries who were heading for the Far East and the North Sea as privately employed pilots.

With his wife Annette he saw the potential in taking over management of other people's helicopters and flying them at a profit to owner and manager alike. The first step on his way to turning CB Helicopters into a £500,000 turnover limited company was when Roger Daltry – lead singer with The Who – offered Carl his own Bell Jet-Ranger.

It was Daltry's helicopter that we were flying in as we passed Central London's only other heliport, a large floating barge near the City water-front, 1,000 feet below us.

"It suited Daltry because he wasn't able to maximise the potential of his helicopter on his own. He knows that our pilots are all highly trained ex-servicemen who would fly it safely and properly. He takes a percentage of the business we do with his machine and we, in turn, maintain it and make it available to him when he needs it. Our private customers range from members of the Royal Family to politicians and entertainers."

Full article here: CHRISTOPHER A LONG - Straight Up! Helicopters (http://www.christopherlong.co.uk/pri/helicopters.html)

9th Aug 2013, 19:40

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-HcJdEdiK44o/UgSmtf2cyzI/AAAAAAAAN1o/fskz3i1Mqlo/w832-h554-no/CCG+B206B+JR+II+C-GCHC+Toronto+Lester+B.+Pearson+Int+Ontario+Canada+Sept+78+%2 528Gary+Vincent%2529.jpg
Canadian Coast Guard Bell 206B JetRanger II C-GCHC at Toronto's Lester B. Pearson International Airport, Ontario, Canada in September 1978 (Photo: Gary Vincent)

For another great shot of a CCG 206 (on fixed floats) see page 93 (http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/419023-rotary-nostalgia-thread-93.html).

10th Aug 2013, 09:52

Hellenic Air Force VIP Agusta-Bell 212 landing on a Grecian wharf c. 1980's

10th Aug 2013, 19:10

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-sGKOoLgGo0Y/UgSnkVQLR1I/AAAAAAAAN2I/oCG8tqKW9LY/w874-h554-no/KLM+S76A+PH-NZO+Amsterdam+Schipol+11+Jun+86+%2528Stephen+Duqemin%2529.jp g
KLM S76-A PH-NZO as seen at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport on 11th June 1986. S61N PH-NZG in the background. (Photo: Stephen Duqemin)

Nigel Osborn
10th Aug 2013, 21:22
Bond bought a 76 or two from KLM & shipped them to OZ for the Woodside contract. Their basic weight was so high normal payloads couldn't be carried. So they were given the Jenny Craig treatment & had 50-75 kgs of unwanted electrical looms & numerous coats of paint scraped off!:ok:

11th Aug 2013, 20:25
Ciao Nigel! Good to see you on the thread again! :ok:

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-O9NQwjsUloA/Uge3q9JfuFI/AAAAAAAAN4E/AHBi8dZ4ACw/w783-h554-no/RAF+SA314D+Gazelle+HT3+XW898+as+seen+at+RAF+Church+Fenton+on +4th+July+1976.+%2528Photo+Glenn+Reay%2529.png
RAF SA341D Gazelle HT3 XW898 as seen at RAF Church Fenton on 4th July 1976. (Photo: Glenn Reay)

Crouched afore the steed was Capt. Phil Stinson, USAF, (presumably on an exchange) just prior to his participation in a four-aircraft display which had been visiting from RAF Ternhill (that once bastion of QHI's).

On the day this photograph was taken, the US was celebrating 200 years of independence and in recognition of this the RAF crews had affixed two American decals to the starboard door of Capt. Stinson's Gazelle. Above these was stenciled in black letters 'Capt. Phil Stinson, USAF'.

Always such nice chaps the RAF!

12th Aug 2013, 20:00
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-wk1bdm2cWac/UgjqID7WpUI/AAAAAAAAN4k/zvFfVP8iTcQ/w820-h554-no/RN+SA341C+Gaz+HT2+XZ938+CU45+Redhill+25+Sep+91+%2528Martin+P ole%2529.jpg
Royal Navy SA341C Gazelle HT2 XZ938 (CU45) as seen at Redhill Aerodrome on 25th September 1991 (Photo: Martin Pole)

The HT2 was the Royal Navy’s primary trainer and is seen here fitted with a hoist.

When student pilots reached the search and rescue portion of their course, two Gazelles from 705 Squadron were fitted with these hoists in readiness for the impending SAR training.

The training involved recovering a life buoy from the airfield and, once mastered, two further ‘wet’ sorties were carried-out just off the coast, again using a life buoy.

XZ938 became instructional airframe 9304M for the RAF in 2001 and was finally disposed of in 2003.

12th Aug 2013, 22:53








13th Aug 2013, 20:04
Shane: Great to see these shots from Hughesdon's garden party and, in particular, Peter Wilson.

Pete Wilson visited our family home numerous times in the company of my godfather and was a likeable man. Always friendly, engaging and highly accommodating of youngsters continually peppering him with questions about flying.

Together with my godfather, Peter was one of six pilots selected from the Army to learn to fly helicopters and their careers were closely intertwined with Peter joining my godfather at the Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment at RAF Beaulieu in 1946 and similarly, after the disbanding of the AFEE, moving on to the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down. Thereafter they both went on to join the Bristol Aeroplane Company where my godfather was project pilot on the Bristol Sycamore and in which programme Peter was also involved.

I should love to hear from anyone who knows a little about Peter's post-military career.

The late Peter Wilson (1920-2010)

I should not like to disappoint my late godfather, having posted RAF and Navy Gazelles, by failing to present an Army offering and which, in this case, comes with the courtesy (again) of Martin Pole:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-XResmXjpaNs/UgqOC3oolmI/AAAAAAAAN6w/Fsen9QdH2L4/w800-h554-no/Army+SA341B+Gazelle+AH1+XW885%252C+XZ313%252C+XZ338%252C+XX4 03%252C+XZ333%252C+XZ318+Knook+Camp%252C+Wiltshire+82+%2528M artin+Pole%2529.jpg
Army SA341B Gazelle AH1 XW885 as seen at Knook Camp, Wiltshire in 1982 (Photo: Martin Pole)

Also present were; XZ313, XZ338, XX403, XZ333 and XZ318.

13th Aug 2013, 21:31
I knew you would be able to fill in the details.

14th Aug 2013, 19:43

Brantly B-2B G-WASP as seen at Cranfield on 5th July 1987 (Photo: Stephen Duquemin)

This craft began life as G-ASXE being delivered to BEAS in 1964. From there she went to Freeman's of Bewdley Aviation in Stourport-on-Severn (1968 to 1976) after which she headed northwards to 'Wiggy's world' where she was registered to Sims Automatics of Glasgow. Sims then listed her under the name of Western Air Scotland and gave her a new registration .. G-WASP.

At the time of this photo she belonged jointly to William Evans and Maxwell Morris. She was finally returned to her land of origin in 2002.

15th Aug 2013, 07:32
Brantly B-2B G-WASP as seen at Cranfield on 5th July 1987

When I was working at a hotel in Dollar, Central Scotland between leaving school and joining the AAC in 77 that landed in the garden and the guy went off with toolbox in hand to fix all the fruit machines.

15th Aug 2013, 10:07
Yes, I too remember him (I think) Was he Don McGilveray? And I've a mind he subsequently owned a J/R, which has been the subject of a post or two. I dunno, but Sav will!:O -VFR
PS could it have been G-WOSP??

15th Aug 2013, 14:56
In response to Monkeyboy post and CB helis, believe Annette, (mentioned in article) was in fact Roger Daltrey's cousin. I used to do occasional work for them back in the mid '80s at events such as GP and Derby

15th Aug 2013, 15:40
Hi Sav, Glad your back,
June 1985 and the 2 Jet Ranger's, (WOSP and BAKT), are now with Gleneagles ex Burnthill's, here G-WOSP doing pleasure flights in the Strathclyde Park, with Captain George Muir and his wife Maira, WOSP is now brown or should I say 'coffee' in colour for the Radio Clyde traffic reports sponsor Maxwell House, I think she still flys in Sweden as SE-JIP.

in 'coffee' livery



15th Aug 2013, 17:32
I seem to remember Don McGilveray being killed in the crash of G-CHIC a WASP helicopters 269C in North Wales 1980.

15th Aug 2013, 19:32
GSA: Your memory serves you well! See additional comments below from Wiganairways.

VFR: You may well remember G-BUZZ which was delivered to Western Air in 1978 by Mann's. I've posted a poor quality image (the only one available) of BUZZ from 1980 wearing a red and blue scheme (below).

Fairchim: Please feel free to post any photos from your time with CB.

Ciao Wiggy! Grazie mille!

Eric the Ferret: See comments below from Ahh de Havilland.

Western Air seemed to have started in 1976 with a Brantly B2B, G-WASP (ex G-ASXE) registered to Sims Automatics, Glasgow. Sims is a supplier of friut machines, gaming machines, pool tables etc. (and are still around today) in 1977 G-WASP, as it had become, changed hands to Donald S. McGillivray, Elizabeth A. McGillivray and Walter Glen, (the partners), T/A Western Air (Scotland) Partners Ltd. from the same address as Sims.

WASP lasted from 2/77 to 11/81 and then joined by Jet Ranger G-BUZZ, (WASP, BUZZ), in 4/78, lasting until 8/82, next was G-WOSP Western Air (Scotland) Partners T/A WASP Helicopter Hire from 11/78 to 9/81 when it went to Burnthills Aviation Ltd. Don't know of anything after 1982 but I'll have a dig about, but would seem they quit the helicopter hire business about that time.

Wasp was headed by Don McGillivray and operated G-CHIC Hughes 269 in addition to G-WASP, G-BUZZ & G-WOSP. Don also had a Campbell Cricket (G-AYHH) which was replaced by G-WASP.

G-CHIC was regn to Wasp on 31.7.79 but crashed soon after on 13.11.79 near Betws-y-Coed when it struck trees shortly after t/o. The pilot died from a fractured skull as he was not wearing a crash helmet. I am not sure but I think the pilot killed in G-CHIC was Don McGillivray, as the MD changed from Don to Elizabeth McGillivray.

Wasp were based to quote Flight in a small hangar behind an industrial estate in north Glasgow, and all the aircraft were regn to the same Glasgow address as Sims Automations so there may be a financial link.

Agusta-Bell 206B JetRanger II G-BUZZ on location in Scotland during the filming of the movie 'Death Watch' in 1980

(My apologies for the atrocious quality of the above image). G-BUZZ was delivered by Alan Mann to Western Air in April of 1978. In November of the same year they took delivery of a new Bell-built 206 (probably from CSE) G-WOSP.

Bell 206B JetRanger III G-WOSP at Glasgow c. 1980's (Photo: David Whitworth)

As mentioned above, what became WASP Helicopters seems to have begun as a helicopter supporting a business called 'Sims Automatics' which evidently distributed slot machines. This business appears to have been developed by Donald and Elizabeth McGillivray who then cultivated charter work for their helicopter (initially the Brantly B2 G-ASXE).

This charter business then began trading as Western Air (Scotland) Partners (from where the WASP acronym was derived) along with a Walter Glen.

Quite what happened to WASP I am not sure but one or more of their aircraft (as mentioned by Wiggy) went on to Burnthills.

If I remember correctly then Paco flew WOSP while she was with Burnthills.

16th Aug 2013, 19:21
.. between leaving school and joining the AAC in 77 ..

This is a little before your time but .. in case you worked with Scouts:


My godfather flew the prototype of the Scout (the P531):

Saunders-Roe P531 prototype of the Scout which was developed from the Skeeter

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-PppTKZbYPKk/Ug5Y9qZA5LI/AAAAAAAAN_Y/mDauxm_TznY/w897-h543-no/XP604+over+a+Kampong+near+to+Seremban%252C+Malaya+1968+%2528 Mike+Edwards%2529.jpg
British Army Scout XR604 over a Kampong, Malaya in 1968 (Photo: Mike Edwards)

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-Hf090iHvrtk/Ug5Y8m83nFI/AAAAAAAAN_A/Y-xS1qrFSo8/w862-h554-no/2+Flight+AAC++-Seremban+Malaya++Sgt+John+Smith%252C+Cpl+Nigel+Tindale%252C+ Cpl+Graham+Kennedy%252C+Cpl+Stu+Read+%2528deceased%2529%252C +Cpl+Len+Allison%252C+Cpl+Froggy+Keep.jpg
2 Flight Army Air Corps in Seremban, Malaya, 1968. A regretfully incomplete list of those photographed includes: Sgt John Smith, Cpl Nigel Tindale, Cpl Graham Kennedy, Cpl Stu Read, Cpl Len Allison, Cpl Froggy Keep (Photo: Mike Edwards)

A while back on this thread we saw a Navy 'Wasp' fitted with skids and no flotation gear .. well .. here's an Army Scout with flotation gear .. over Hong Kong!

The Scout was by all counts a study craft for I recall in the early 80's an incident at Wallop where a certain Bristow 47 took a 'liking' to a Scout by trying to land on top of it! The Scout flew again (IIRC) but the 47 was consigned to the scrap heap!

British Army Alouette II during the AAC Golden Jubilee seen with an AAC pilot on 25th May 2007

I was initially flummoxed by the medal worn by the driver in this photo being reminded of the Hong Kong Service Medal (which also had a blue and yellow ribbon) but .. after closer inspection the lass's version depicted a circle of stars around the medal's circumference and which was definitely not the case with the HKSM. It turns out instead to be the 'Common Security and Defence Policy Service Medal' awarded for participation in Operation Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina!

Ericferret: Did you work on the AAC Alo II's?

18th Aug 2013, 07:27
Also from the BBC Four 'Britain on Film' programme, G-ASEH, Brantly B-2A flying out of the 'London Heliport on a self drive hire', also Gregory Air Taxi service with a PA23.







18th Aug 2013, 19:23
Wiggy! Many thanks for these 'screen shots' along with those contributed to the Ferranti thread! :ok:

I think this is the first mentioning of G-ASEH on 'Nostalgia' so this is a great find. Great too to see the 'Air Gregorius' offices at Denham as well as the colourful shots of ASEH both at Denham and at Battersea. As it happens, in the 70's, Battersea had similar buildings to those seen at Denham.

Air Gregory .. 60's .. I think this was the 'era' when Gay Absolosm flew with them.

G-ASEH ended-up in the hands of Roger Hans Everett of Romsey, Hampshire, although it is a 'Major Roger Cyril Hans Sloane Stanley' who is shown in some records as being the owner of the Paultons Estate to where the craft was registered. Prior to Everett, G-ASEH was listed with BEAS (from 1963-66).

Keeping step with the recent Brantly/Alouette offerings ..

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-Tu2sZX0P1tY/UhD1V1YeZXI/AAAAAAAAOBE/SIFPOfaSp4k/w806-h554-no/Alouette+II+F-BNKZ+with+Brantly+B2+G-ASHD+at+White+Waltham+13+Aug+1966+%2528RA+Scholefield%2529.j pg
Sud-Est SE3130 Alouette II F-BNKZ in the company of Brantly B-2B G-ASHD as seen at White Waltham on 13th August 1966 (Photo: RA Scholefield)

Both F-BNKZ and G-ASHD have featured previously on Nostalgia .. "KZ" being the 'well known' Alouette from the 60's TV series 'The Prisoner' (see page 44 (http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/419023-rotary-nostalgia-thread-44.html)) and ASHD having belonged to Pontin's (see page 43 (http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/419023-rotary-nostalgia-thread-43.html)).

A year after RA Scholefield's photo (above) .. F-BKNZ became G-AVEE and was registered (as can be seen from the logo on the craft's fuselage) to RBA Helicopters of 'St, Mary's Butts' (yes, St. Mary's Butts!) of Berkshire. Well .. I too was somewhat surprised at this questionable place name .. especially on a Sabbath .. until I discovered that: "In the Middle Ages, Edward IV made it compulsory for all yeomen in England to learn archery. Archery butts were set up on the land in front of the Minster Church of St Mary the Virgin. It was used by the adult males of Reading to practice on Sundays. The archers who used St Mary's Butts were amongst the English bowmen who fought at Battle of Agincourt. In 1631 the town paid £3 to stop the practising of archery in the town."

Oh .. and an 'archery butt'? 'Tis "an archery practice field, with mounds of earth used for the targets. The name originally referred to the targets themselves, but over time came to mean the platforms that held the targets as well. For instance, in Shakespeare's Othello, V,ii, 267 mentions "Here is my journey's end, here is my butt".

(At least when the missus complains that you spend too much time on PPRuNe, you can genuinely inform her that it is .. 'educational'!).

And .. (not that one should normally commence a sentence such) to bring the discourse full-circle .. subsequent to her time with RBA Helicopters, G-AVEE moved on to Air Gregory where she remained until 1973.

20th Aug 2013, 19:20

Royal Navy Westland Wasp '84' from HMS Penelope lands aboard HMS Tiger mid-Atlantic between the UK and the West Indies in 1964. (Photo: David Ayres)

Evidently (and in order to accommodate the landing) 'Tiger's' rear guns had to be rotated. Later the ship would have a 'hangar' installed.

21st Aug 2013, 16:19

Royal Naval personnel from 845 Naval Air Squadron normally based at the Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton in Somerset have been deployed to Aqaba, Jordan to conduct Environmental Training (ET) and Pre-Deployment Training (PDT) during Exercise Pashtun Commando 2013.

Westland Sea King of 845 Naval Air Squadron overflies the Jordanian desert during Exercise Pashtun Commando 2013

Based at King Hussein International Air Base, the squadron (which spent four years in Afghanistan with its sister Commando Helicopter Force unit, 846 Naval Air Squadron) utilises the desert regions surrounding Aqaba and provides helicopter aircrews and ground crews with essential training in preparation for future operations.

"The prospect of losing all visual references during the final approach was a touch unsettling, but, under the watchful eye of experienced instructors, I was able to apply the techniques and get to grips with desert flying."

- Pilot Lieutenant Chris Gayson

A Westland Sea King of 845 Naval Air Squadron practices 'brown out' landings during Exercise Pashtun Commando 2013

"The characteristics of the dust in Jordan really put an extra burden on the aircraft. The teams worked tirelessly to keep up the pace of flying."

- Pilot Lieutenant Chris Gayson

A Westland Sea King of 845 Naval Air Squadron is inspected by one of the squadron's engineers during Exercise Pashtun Commando 2013

The tail rotor belonging to a Westland Sea King of 845 Naval Air Squadron receives attention from one of the squadron's engineers during Exercise Pashtun Commando 2013

"The exercise has proved hugely beneficial for all members of the detachment. Clearly the main aim is to train and refresh aircrew in desert flying techniques – I have never experienced an environment so challenging and similar to that in Afghanistan."

"It is an amazing yet very tough environment to train in, but the members of the Commando Helicopter Force rose to the challenges and produced the goods, training hard so that we can fight easy."

- Lieutenant Commander Edwin Adams,
...Detachment commander

A Westland Sea King of 845 Naval Air Squadron practices load-lifting operations during Exercise Pashtun Commando 2013

All photographs courtesy of Petty Officer Mez Merrill.

More 'Supa Sea Kings' on the following pages:

30 (http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/419023-rotary-nostalgia-thread-30.html) 55 (http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/419023-rotary-nostalgia-thread-55.html) 58 (http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/419023-rotary-nostalgia-thread-58.html) 62 (http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/419023-rotary-nostalgia-thread-62.html) 67 (http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/419023-rotary-nostalgia-thread-67.html) 76 (http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/419023-rotary-nostalgia-thread-76.html) 81 (http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/419023-rotary-nostalgia-thread-81.html)

1st Sep 2013, 17:44

While scanning my Gazelle photo collection I noticed a Kangaroo/Wallaby logo on the tail of Pre production Gazelle F-ZWRK construction No 04.

Does anyone know the significance of this.... or did we nearly have either the SA.341 Kangaroo or the SA341 Wallaby ?

Maybe I should have posted on the Gazelle thread but thought it would receive a wider audience here ?


1st Sep 2013, 18:30
Ciao Elipix! Great to see you back on the thread. :ok:

I am not sure how relevant this is but .. the French Air Force operated an electronic warfare squadron known as Armée de l'Air SARIGUE-NG standing for Systeme de Recueil d'Informations de Guerre Electronique (Airborne Electronic Warfare Information Gathering System) and the NG standing for 'nouvelle generation' (or new generation) which they added when they re-launched themselves in the 1990's (IIRC). Anyway, their symbol was a possum or 'tree kangaroo' (see patch below).


If is was not associated with this squadron (which I suspect) then it will be something altogether different.

Hopefully someone else may have further revelations. Perhaps if Zishelix is back from his holidays he might be able to assist!

1st Sep 2013, 22:24

About the Shawbury Gazelle and the USAF exchange Captain, by any chance do you know if he was the exchange officer from Kirtland AFB or from the USAF portion of the US Army's Initial Entry Rotary Wing course at Ft Rucker?

On the same topic, when Helitech first moved up to my neck of the woods at Duxford in 2001, amongst the cadre of DHFS instructors walking around including the then RN CO, was an US Army exchange instructor. He had an interesting patch on his flight suit that read J-CSAR with Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines surrounding the emblem. Turned out by trade he flew CH-47D before going through the Personnel Exchange Program.

Are you attending Helitech in a few weeks time? The second day of the show falls on my birthday, so good time to celebrate as well :)

2nd Sep 2013, 08:01
A year after RA Scholefield's photo (above) .. F-BKNZ became G-AVEE

And here is F-BKNZ a year later:

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-JBII7jBcJ9U/UiRBvUZA-sI/AAAAAAAAOJM/GcPS3ZR5StY/w830-h554-no/SE3130+Alouette+II+G-AVEE+%2528cn+1203%2529+Plymouth+17th+October+1970+%2528Chris +England%2529.jpg
Sud-Est SE3130 Alouette II G-AVEE (cn 1203) in the service of Air Gregory as seen at Plymouth's Roborough Airport on 17th October 1970 (Photo: Chris England)

Chopper: I don't have any further details on Capt. Phil Stinson but, someone who may (if you can get hold of him) is PPRuNer Gazelle2 (http://www.pprune.org/members/130918-gazelle2).

Interesting to hear about the exchange driver that you met at Duxford. I'm sure many of them have interesting stories to tell about their various experiences 'on loan' to the UK Forces, as indeed must some British flyers have of their exchanges Stateside!

I won't be a Helitech but otherwise would have unquestionably 'helped' you celebrate your special day. Will in any case raise a glass to your good health on the 25th.

Best regards


2nd Sep 2013, 12:00
the Kangaroo logo was added due to demo flights the SA.341-04 performed during 1969 to Australian Government agencies and civil operators. The machine was transported by French AF's Transall on October 20nd and assembled at Fairbairn Airport, Canberra, by Sud-Aviation technicians. The visit, lasting about ten days, was sponsored jointly by Office Francais d'Exportation de Material Aeronautique and Hawker de Havilland Australia. OFEMA and H de H in a joint statement said that "with oil and mineral exploration activities extending over an ever-increasing area throughout Australia and south-east Asia, the civil 'stretch' advantages of the SA.341 are of particular interest“. Demo flights were include high-altitude take-offs and landings in New Guinea. The SA.341-04 mission, led by Sud's helicopter sales engineer Christian Busson, ended November 6th, and the helicopter returned same way back to Marignane, France.

2nd Sep 2013, 16:21
Is that Gay Absalom standing by the Brantly? The style looks right.

2nd Sep 2013, 19:24
Zis: Great job! :D

Eric: The gentleman with the bald pate in the last of Wiggy's Brantly images does bear a resemblance to Rowland Absalom (Gay's father) as can be seen in the video clip below:

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-XwuRPDUtVc8/UWgu7wrIycI/AAAAAAAAM4o/egduO9A8pQI/w84-h67-no/Play+Icon.png (http://www.britishpathe.com/video/helicopter-to-work)

In the clip, Rowland was flying G-ASXD which just happens to be framed by G-AVEE's tail rotor guard in Chris England's photo above Zishelix's post.

I did wonder however, whether in the first of Wiggy's Brantly images, Gay might be flying!

2nd Sep 2013, 22:26
I came across another photo of Gay and a Brantly (possibly the same one) but it's a black and white picture. Same hairdo. I have a suspicion that the gent with her in the photo above might be Mike Smith but without the confirmation of a bow tie not so certain.
However again the style looks right.

3rd Sep 2013, 07:12
Here is a blast for you. 1990!

Then -


Now -

Then -

Now -


And the planks that were there as well.



3rd Sep 2013, 08:52
Eric: There are a couple of black and white photos of Gay on page 33 (http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/419023-rotary-nostalgia-thread-33.html).

RV: Some oblique 'matches':


This US Army Bell UH-1H was modified to resemble an Mi24 (though I suspect that this 'modification', in order to be effective, may have required the other pilots to ingest some form of psychotropic drug). Seen here at Fort Irwin, California, on 29th October 1985

Still flying high, this beautiful example Bell 205A-1 (C-FETK) belonging to High Terrain Helicopters as seen over Nelson in British Columbia on 11th May 2011 (Photo: Jesse Adams)

4th Sep 2013, 15:52
There you are RVDT in action. "That" guy in the back is Lee Vlaar. Wonder where he ended-up.
Summer 1990 Corsica

http://i683.photobucket.com/albums/vv196/jacdor/fhgCorse_zpsfe08176f.jpg (http://s683.photobucket.com/user/jacdor/media/fhgCorse_zpsfe08176f.jpg.html)

Here is one of the plank that did a short landing. Remember, pieces of the props
hit the hangar door, we all hit the asphalt.

http://i683.photobucket.com/albums/vv196/jacdor/bastiabellylanding_zps68b5e267.jpg (http://s683.photobucket.com/user/jacdor/media/bastiabellylanding_zps68b5e267.jpg.html)

5th Sep 2013, 11:54
Helipix and Sav, the pic of Gazelle F-ZWRK/04 reminds me that I flew the aircraft several times in early 1971 as the AAEE project pilot.In May we were doing Stability Augmentation system (SAS) handling and `runaways `; later in the month myself and Cne.Castres(my CEV counterpart) did high altitude tests to 20000 ft. We then flew it from Marignane to Bretigny the following day.
With regard to the `Roo` on the fin,it may be that it was put on by an Australian TP that was at AAEE,but I do not recall that the aircraft was ever in the UK,but he may have flown it in France.

5th Sep 2013, 19:10
Sycamore: Great to hear of your exploits in France with 004. They must have been exciting days indeed!

Zis: Yesterday in our email exchange we discussed Korcula Island in your homeland. Today the island was the subject of some helicopter news (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-23971179)!

6th Sep 2013, 06:07
Indeed... actually, a friend of mine (the helicopter crew) assisted the doctor! So now we call him a Midwife :) :)

9th Sep 2013, 09:11
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-E-5Y2F3xJN0/Ui2IZAJ_zvI/AAAAAAAAORA/D60rLWXN2Iw/w180-h173-no/Coat_of_Arms_of_Monaco.svg.png https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-l44HQf7UrsQ/Ui2IZp7eeVI/AAAAAAAAORY/e1tVwlQJe_g/w180-h120-no/Monaco+Flag.gif

The City State of Monaco, nestled along a stretch of coastline in Southern France known as the Cote d'Azur, has long been associated with the helicopter and is home to one of the world's long-running helicopter airlines.

Since 1297 when Francesco Grimaldi and his companions (dressed as monks) invaded the town from Genoa, the Grimaldi family have ruled this tiny Principality.

Prince Rainier III, known as the 'builder Prince', was one of the initial advocates of helicopter services and was responsible for the development of what is now the Fontvieille Quarter (developed from reclaimed land) and which harbours the city's national heliport.

Heli Air Monaco (HAM) The Beginning

Heli-Monaco Enstrom F-28A 3A-MJC

'Heli-Monaco' commenced services with a sole Enstrom F-28 in 1976. During the first year of operations, 3A-MJC carries 747 passengers.

In 1978 the now 'Heli Air Monaco' added a second aircraft:

Agusta-Bell 206 JetRanger II 3A-MRG becomes the second aircraft in the Heli Air Monaco (HAM) fleet

In 1980 the Fontvieille Heliport is opened (previous operations utilised a helipad in the same area). In 1980 HAM flew 15,237 passengers.

Fontvieille Heliport in 1980

By 1983 the fleet had expanded to four helicopters and the passengers flown that year were 39,673.

HAM's 1983 fleet consisting of two JetRangers, one LongRanger and their first Ecureuil

HAM's 'official' account of their history indicates that their first 206 arrived in 1978 but .. a contact of mine believes their first 206 arrived in 1977. We shall see.

Heli Air Monaco's first Agusta-Bell 206A 3A-MCC arriving at the helipad at Fontvieille c.1977 (Photo: Jean-Paul Bascoul)

Early HAM publicity depicting 3A-MCC over the Principality (Courtesy of Zishelix)

10th Sep 2013, 21:58

11th Sep 2013, 15:23
Shane: Most interesting.

We've looked at the Decca Navigation Company's little songbird .. G-ARIA previously in posts 1365 (http://www.pprune.org/7072157-post1365.html) 1370 (http://www.pprune.org/7073545-post1370.html) and 1547 (http://www.pprune.org/7279799-post1547.html).

In this new contribution we get to see ARIA a year before she was bought by Decca while still in the hands of World Wide Helicopters:

World Wide Helicopters Bell 47G G-ARIA as seen at Biggin Hill in June 1964 (Photo: David Welch)

One must of course ask the question "what kind of sorties required her to don fixed-floats" but, alas, it is a question to which I do not yet have the answer.

500 Fan
11th Sep 2013, 16:10
Thanks for that scan, Shane. I always wondered what the story was behind the "Irish" Kamov!

500 Fan.

11th Sep 2013, 21:55

12th Sep 2013, 15:06
I am wondering if the World Wide Bell 47 might be N2499B which I flew from an offshore rig in Libya in December 1963. In late January we replaced it with an S-55 and I don't know where the 47 went after that. Regrettably I can't find any pictures of it but it was on fixed floats until it left Libya.

12th Sep 2013, 15:45
Silohed: From what I can see N2499B remained as N2499B throughout her career.

G-ARIA's registration history is as follows: NC152B > N152B > YI-ABY > N4929V > G-ARIA > F-GFDP.

Perhaps the floats were a left over from her time with AF Helicopters of San Fernando who owned her when she was N4929V?

13th Sep 2013, 12:08
There was a business relationship between Decca and World Wide about the time of this photo. If I recall they shared hangar space or were adjacent to each other on the airport. We were doing the North Sea exploration job at World Wide in 1963 and we used Decca navigation equipment in the S-58's so there may have been some equipment testing that required floats.


18th Sep 2013, 19:56
Sillohed: Thanks for the details. Several images of World Wide's aircraft show them on the Decca ramp at Biggin and it is doubtless, as you say, that cooperation existed.

Having presented a fixed-float 47 from the 60's, it seems only fair to balance this with a contemporary craft from the same period:

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-canDlcCP828/UjTf1Gio-6I/AAAAAAAAOYE/jlJtZ5XsGMQ/w864-h554-no/EI-AOU+Nov+66+Trans+World+Helicopters+%2528Peter+Brown%2529+Bla ckbushe.jpg
Trans World Helicopters Hughes 300 EI-AOU at Blackbushe Airport in September 1966 (Photo: Peter Brown)

21st Sep 2013, 10:30
Irish Air Corps Alouette III 197 at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel, Co. Dublin in 1969 (Photo: Steve Treacy)

22nd Sep 2013, 09:50
Keep em coming Sav

23rd Sep 2013, 19:21
Irish Helicopters Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo105D EI-AWB at Shannon Airport on 23rd April 1973 (Photo: MBB Archives)

AWB had an 'exciting' time on the Emerald Isle including, at one point, a brush with the Garda when she was hijacked by the IRA!

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-KNqXdG-bazM/UkB6FlQ_B1I/AAAAAAAAOZQ/hc0Bi-v8j3s/w790-h499-no/Bo105++Cloughfin%252C+Co+Donegal+%2528Victor+Patterson%2529. png
EI-AWB 'rests' in a field in Cloughfin, Co. Donegal on 24th January 1974 having been hijacked by IRA members Eddie Gallagher and Rose Dugdale. (Photo: Victor Patterson)

Gallagher and Dugdale used the hijacked aircraft to drop bombs (contained in milk churns) on the Royal Ulster Constabulary station at Strabane. Mercifully, none of the bombs detonated.

EI-AWB 'abandoned' at Cloughfin on 24th January 1974. (Photo: Victor Patterson)

Of course EI-AWB is better known as G-AZOM (http://www.pprune.org/7675587-post1848.html) (aka 'Or-gazom' .. to some) which began life as a 'C' model (serial no. 21) originally used as a demonstrator by MBB in 1971 while flying as D-HDAD.

In 1972 she was bought by BEAS at Oxford and later the same year commenced her sojourn in the Irish Republic returning to BEAS (now owned by Bristows) in 1978.

Her 'exciting' career was to continue when in 1984 she suffered a partial separation of her tail rotor gearbox in-flight and which led to fleet-wide modifications to the 105.

Although we've talked about G-AZOM before I don't think we've ever looked at the accident report, an extract of which is reproduced here:

Incident date: 24 July 1984
Commander: Age 40
Experience: 9500 hrs of which 4100 hrs were on Bo105s

The purpose of the 30 minute flight was to transport two passengers from Strubby Heliport in Lincolnshire, to Bacton Gas Terminal in Norfolk. The weather was good and the commander decided to conduct the flight at 1000 feet amsl flying visually on a direct track from Stubby to Bacton. At approximately 11:55 hrs, with one of the passengers in the front left seat, the aircraft lifted from Strubby Heliport for Bacton. The departure was normal and the commander levelled the aircraft at 1000 feet amsl and established a cruising speed of 110 knots.

When the aircraft was approximately 5nm off the coast of Skegness, the commander heard a 'dull bang' from the rear of the aircraft accompanied by a 'twitch' in the pedals. His immediate impression was that something was wrong with the tail rotor and he decided to descend so as to be closer to the surface and also to turn right towards Skegness. At this point there was no apparent loss of yaw control so the commander established the aircraft in a 70 kt powered descent turning to the right. During the descent he felt further vibrations and so decided to ditch. Accordingly, he activated the aircraft's emergency flotation system and called Strubby to announce his ditching but did not transmit a full distress message. The commander instructed his passengers to don their lifejackets. By this time it was apparent that the yaw pedals, though still effective, were losing sensitivity. Nevertheless, the commander flared successfully but, as power was applied in order to reduce the descent rate, all yaw control was lost and the aircraft performed two or three 360° turns to the right before contacting the water.

As a result of the aircraft's rotation when contacting the sea, one of the four floats detached, and the aircraft rolled onto its right side. It stabilised for sufficient time to allow the front seat passenger to jettison his door through which all three occupants escaped. Shortly after the passengers and commander had exited the aircraft, it rolled upside down.

The aircraft was lying on its right side with the detached flotation bag beneath the commander's door preventing it from being opened. However, the front seat passenger had familiarised himself with the jettison mechanism of his door and, as a result of his swift action, this became the most convenient egress. The evacuation of the cabin was completed in less than 30 seconds.

On entering the water one of the passengers inflated his type RFD 102 lifejacket and the commander, who had already inflated his Beaufort Mk15 lifejacket, assisted the remaining passenger with the inflation of his lifejacket. Both passengers were wearing immersion suits but did not have them fully zipped up. However, the water temperature was such that none of the survivors suffered from hypothermia in the half hour between the ditching and the rescue. During this period the commander activated his personal radio locator beacon type BE375 Sabre, and at approximately 12:05 hrs fired the first of his own two red flares. He elected to keep the second to guide the rescuers once he was certain that it would be visible to them and fired it at 12:36 hrs

AAIB Bulletin: G-AZOM (http://www.aaib.gov.uk/cms_resources.cfm?file=/Bolkow%20BO%20105D%20G-AZOM%2003-85.pdf)

25th Sep 2013, 08:22
Bristow Helicopters Westland Wessex Series 60-1 G-ATBZ as seen at North Denes Aerodrome on 7th June 1970 (Photo: RA Scholefield)

25th Sep 2013, 09:16
Interesting that AZOM didn't sink, the pax ended up in the water yet no mention in the report as to why the liferaft wasn't used.

26th Sep 2013, 19:31
Eric: The available report (advertised as a bulletin) might mean there is a more detailed report .. somewhere .. which may answer the question of the liferaft?

Of Strubby and Bölkows ..

Management Aviation MBB Bo105D G-BCXO at Strubby Airfield on 15th April 1975 (Photo: Steve Stoneman)

Originally registered to Helicopter Marketing and then Management Aviation this craft is rumoured to have become G-THLS in her latter years although the record does not clearly reveal this transfer. The serial no. for BCXO is given as S80 and for THLS S80/859.

As with G-AZOM (mentioned in an earlier post) G-THLS ended hers days swimming.

28th Sep 2013, 08:07
As all British readers would know from their 'proper' education .. On 18th September 1955 at precisely 10.16 am, in what would be the final territorial expansion of the British Empire, the island of Rockall (a small outcrop of rock in the North Atlantic somewhere between Scotland and Iceland) was officially annexed by the British Crown when Lieutenant-Commander Desmond Scott RN, Sergeant Brian Peel RM, Corporal AA Fraser RM and James Fisher (a civilian naturalist and former Royal Marine) were deposited on the island by a Royal Navy helicopter from HMS Vidal (coincidentally named after the man who first charted the island).

The team cemented in a brass plaque on 'Hall's Ledge' and hoisted the Union Flag to stake the UK's claim. The inscription on the plaque read:

By authority of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,
by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of her other realms and territories Queen,
Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith,
and in accordance with Her Majesty's instructions dated the 14th day of September, 1955,
a landing was effected this day upon this island of Rockall from HMS Vidal.
The Union flag was hoisted and possession of the island was taken in the name of Her Majesty.
R H Connell, Captain, HMS Vidal, 18 September 1955.

Royal Navy Survey Ship HMS Vidal in the Atlantic with a Westland-Sikorsky WS51 Dragonfly aboard

Video of the event:

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-XwuRPDUtVc8/UWgu7wrIycI/AAAAAAAAM4o/egduO9A8pQI/w84-h67-no/Play+Icon.png (http://www.britishpathe.com/video/rockall-becomes-british/query/rockall)

28th Sep 2013, 10:48
. . . these events followed by 58 years of seabirds crapping and covering
the plaque in thick layers of guano.

28th Sep 2013, 13:08
... and the Dragonfly pilot was Tubby Leonard. Lovely man who left the RN in the rank of Commander after serving as a test pilot and then he worked for Sperry after he left the service. He passed away in 2010.

Daily Telegraph obituary here (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/military-obituaries/naval-obituaries/8071584/Commander-Tubby-Leonard.html)

30th Sep 2013, 09:06
C16: According to my godfather 'Tubby' was indeed a 'great guy'. Sadly never got to meet him in person.

A thread was launched at his passing: http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/434605-tribute-ronald-tubby-leonard.html

Westpac Life Saver: 40th Anniversary


The first training session at Wanda in 1973

'The Wales' rescue helicopter made use of a fixed-float Airfast Bell 47 equipped with external stretcher panniers

Rescue exercises on the beach

Hoisting from the hook (which I believe they also used to do from the 206)

'Wales Rescue' upgrades to an Airfast Bell 206, in this case .. VH-UHC

The contract (as far as I know) then moved to Ferguson who supplied this 206, VH-FHF

At one point Westpac 'trialled' this Ecureuil, they may subsequently have bought it!

My apologies for the lack of details regarding the Bell 47 registration and photo locations. These details from Westpac's own site.

Nigel Osborn
30th Sep 2013, 13:18
Surf used the same system in the AS 350 for many years. I think ELP ended up on the Sunshine coast & was sold to West Australia or was it Tassie. The 350 had a winch but this strop system was much quicker, easier & took 2 people unlike the winch. I can't recall any accidents with it.:ok:

Spent a lot of time in UHC when it was rigged up for bush work!

1st Oct 2013, 19:31
Nigel: I only seem to have shots of UHC 'wearing' floats but .. if I happen upon one where she's in 'bush' configuration (high skids I suppose) I'll put it up.

Having posted a Trans World Hughes 300 on the previous page (EI-AOU .. I want to say .. AEIOU!!) .. it would be rude not to 'expose' her stable-mate which is a recent contribution from RA Scholefield's wonderful collection of aviation imagery:

Trans World Helicopters Hughes 300 (269B) EI-APH at Hannover Airport in Germany, as seen on 7th May 1966 (Photo: RA Scholefield)

APH is seen here attending the Hannover Air Show in 1966 as part of the Hughes exhibit. Very likely at the time of her delivery to Trans World.

In 1978 she was sold to Globe Construction of Felsted in Essex, when she became G-AWKC, and in '71 she moved to Tywford Moors Helicopters of Southampton. Her last UK owner was Forecourt Services of Eastleigh in Hampshire who acquired her in 1976.

The following year the craft was exported to Austria (via Germany) where she ended her days as OE-AXG.

7th Oct 2013, 19:14
Keeping with the floats ..

Another shot of G-ATDW (a previous photo of her, taken at Southampton, appears on page 101 (http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/419023-rotary-nostalgia-thread-101.html)):

Bristow Helicopters Hiller UH-12E4 G-ATDW as seen at Redhill on 14th May 1966 (Photo: RA Scholefield)

Began life as N5350V, then VP-YXR, G-ATDW and finally ZK-HCQ. Registered to Bristows (Redhill) between 1965-68.

Plank Cap
7th Oct 2013, 20:25
Gotta love those old Hillers, especially the 4 seaters, so retro looking today.

I have just returned from a short trip to San Francisco this week, which included a visit to the Hiller Aviation Museum at San Carlos. This is a fascinating building out at the airport there with many old aircraft, and restoration workshop onsite, all set up by Stanley Hiller himself.

Two amazing Hiller facts;

1) I was informed the -12 is still in production (my late step father learned to fly on one in the early 60s with the Royal Navy).

2) Whilst airborne, Stanley Hiller used to demonstrate that aircraft's stability characteristics by climbing onto the outside of the machine, whilst a colleague would do the same on the opposite side - leaving nobody in the cockpit! The museum has a photo of him doing precisely this.

Personally having learned to fly with the Bell 47, this is not something that ever occurred to me to try........

8th Oct 2013, 07:50
Ciao Planko!

I have a brother who lives in SF so .. when next there I shall endeavour to visit San Carlos and check-out the museum. Sounds interesting.

On page 90 (http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/419023-rotary-nostalgia-thread-90.html) there is a photo of Stanley Hiller standing aside one of his prototypes while his wife Carolyn is in the hover being taught the trade .. and on page 91 (http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/419023-rotary-nostalgia-thread-91.html) there is a photo of two crew from the Hiller factory having left the cockpit (in flight) and sitting on the engine tray in an effort to demonstrate the craft's stability!

Astonished to learn that the Hiller 12 is still being produced.

Plank Cap
8th Oct 2013, 12:06
Sav Hey,

I knew you'd have the story on some previous pages, well found!

A small selection below from the Hiller museum in San Carlos. The famous Hiller 12 in Korean MASH guise, suspended from the rafters. The yellow coaxial XH-44 that Stanley landed in his girlfriend's parental house on his first meeting with them, circa 1942. My favourite though is the orange painted tandem rotor device, intended as a single pilot (open cockpit!) twin engined stretcher carrier for battlefield medevac. Apparently it never saw production strangely enough, possibly couldn't find a willing test pilot, let alone stretcher patient...........


Le Plank




Plank Cap
8th Oct 2013, 20:29
Here's a question for all you old and bolds out there.

On the 4 seat Hiller (and Bell 47J) with the one and only pilot seat (and presumably one set of controls) up front ahead of the pax bench, just how did a pilot new to the type get checked out? Perhaps back then it was all done over a cup of tea on the ground and a chat with the trainer before blasting off solo on one's first mission..........?

Nigel Osborn
8th Oct 2013, 21:06
You learnt in the 3 seat model such as the Bell 47G series, then went onto the 47J. Same deal with the Hiller. No problem!:ok:

8th Oct 2013, 21:37
Oddly....a helicopter is a helicopter is a helicopter!

The UK makes it difficult with its "Type" system.

Compare the UK system to the US FAA system of "Typing".

8th Oct 2013, 21:40
just how did a pilot new to the type get checked out?

I did my three hours and 1179 on a 47G2 then three weeks later my shiny new CPL/H arrived and dropped through the letterbox at work - those were the days, I had been employed without the company knowing the results of my CPL exams and only with a Hiller 12E on that licence. Told the boss my licence had arrived and he said to go and teach myself how to fly the 47J2. As Nigel says, no problem. Loved the J2 and ended up with 2,500 hours on it.

Just realised that first solo on the J2 was almost exactly 45 years ago......I feel old!

John Eacott
8th Oct 2013, 22:58
Here's a question for all you old and bolds out there.

On the 4 seat Hiller (and Bell 47J) with the one and only pilot seat (and presumably one set of controls) up front ahead of the pax bench, just how did a pilot new to the type get checked out? Perhaps back then it was all done over a cup of tea on the ground and a chat with the trainer before blasting off solo on one's first mission..........?

I declined a B47J endorsement (too busy at the time) which would have consisted of the examiner sitting behind watching me start, then a quick verbal quiz.

I should have made the time :hmm:

8th Oct 2013, 23:10
In Canada we do have the "type" system as well so when you get the B47 type endorsement you get all the model of that type, I flew the G2, G4 and the J models.


FH1100 Pilot
9th Oct 2013, 04:22
The Hiller 12E-4 has a set of dual controls on the left side of the bench seat, just where the regular 12E has the duals. The Bell 47J had no such feature.

9th Oct 2013, 08:51
Some great responses to Planko's enquiry! :ok:

If anyone has photos/memorabilia from their Hiller/47 days .. please do post!

Planko: Great shots from the Hiller museum.

As FH1100 has said .. the 12E-4 had the availability of dual controls .. accommodated on the aircraft's port side rear bench (see below):

Hiller UH12-E4 G-ASAZ cabin view

Because of the wide angle lens .. the pedals for the 'rear seat' pilot's position look a little far but ..

G-ASAZ controls (the 'famous' Hiller from the film 'Goldfinger')

.. in reality they are within reach.

From my godfather's days with the Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment (AFEE) at RAF Beaulieu and later with the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) at Boscombe Down, he would tell me that he and his fellow test pilots would constantly be trying out new types which they have never flown before and .. in some cases .. which had no accompanying paperwork (manuals or instructions). He told me that more than once did he gave himself a little 'fright'!

I suppose when the 109's were captured in the Falklands (if they were flown off) that someone may have had to do a bit of 'experimenting' to get them to the ship!

Back to the Hillers and Bells .. the 47 'J' had two configurations. One in which the driver's legs were astride the main console (as per the 12-E4) and the other where the instrument stack was off to one side (as was the case on Ferranti's J2) and which my godfather would refer to (and which was perhaps commonly referred to) as the music stand!

11th Oct 2013, 07:03
Squadron Leader Ken Topp

Squadron Leader Ken Topp, of Sherborne, West Dorset has died age 78 at West Abbey Nursing Home in Yeovil. He was born on August 8, 1935 in nearby Milborne Port and attended Milborne Port Primary School and Fosters Grammar School in Sherborne. Here he formed friendships which were to last throughout his life and which he continued to treasure.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-vdiBF1qRf90/UleeUrq2KiI/AAAAAAAAOpY/tqdHrJlSLzI/s300-no/Ken+Topp+became+an+apprentice+at+Westland+in+Yeovil+in+1951. jpg
Sqdn Ldr Ken Topp

Ken showed great talent in music, learning to play the piano and the organ for Milborne Port Methodist Church. His involvement with the church youth club at Milborne Port led to his meeting the love of his life, Ruth. Their relationship was always solid and remained steadfast through Ken's subsequent career development.

Ken became an apprentice at Westland Aircraft in 1951, soon becoming involved in the early helicopter manufacture working in the development department. He gained his Higher National Certificate at what was then Yeovil Technical College and was subsequently accepted at Cranfield College of Aeronautics, specialising in helicopter engineering.

His expertise in this highly technical field was acknowledged when he won the coveted Alan Marsh award for outstanding achievement in the field of helicopter research.

After completing his MSc at Cranfield, Ken returned to Westland to become involved in the design and engineering study of tilt rotor aircraft and other helicopter design work and was able to further develop his expertise in this field. In 1971 he moved to the Plessey Marine Research Unit, becoming a senior member of the engineering design and development team.

Later that year he joined the Royal Air Force as a commissioned officer in the engineering branch. After initial training at RAF College, Cranwell, he was posted to RAF Ternhill, part of RAF Training Command. From RAF Ternhill, Ken went to RAF Little Rissingham as Air Engineering Officer to the aircraft training wing. He was kept busy looking after the engineering aspects of fixed and rotary wing aircraft.

Next came a posting to Strike Command where he provided support for all the in-service helicopter engineering and modification programmes.

From Strike Command Ken was assigned to RAF Finningley where he was responsible for the in-service maintenance of the MK3 Sea King fleet of helicopters. As Ken's operational days drew to a close he accepted a post at the Ministry of Defence in London where his wealth of expertise was diligently applied.

Ken eventually retired from the RAF and rejoined Westland Helicopters as ILS manager for EH101, working within the customer support departments.

In November 1959, Ken married Ruth and settled down in Yeovil where sons Andrew and Mike were born. In 1964 they moved to Sherborne where Sarah was born, completing the family. This home became Ken and Ruth's pride and joy, the beautiful garden was always well tended and productive.


Ken had a passion for cars, Jaguars and Triumphs in particular. He put his practical skills to good use building canoes and a mirror sailing dingy which the family sailed on the Thames and lakes in Wales.

Ken was a well-liked, jolly character who endeared himself to everyone who met him with his charismatic personality. His proud family said that they would like to thank all those who have supported their parents over the past three years as they struggled to deal with their ill health.

The family said: "It was tough for Ken and Ruth, they both put up brave fights against cancer, fights that sadly neither won. Ruth passed away peacefully on June 9, 2013, 11 weeks before Ken. They will be so sadly missed by all their family and friends."

Expertise that served RAF and Westland | Yeovil People (http://www.yeovilpeople.co.uk/Expertise-served-RAF-Westland/story-19919910-detail/story.html)

RIP Ken.

13th Oct 2013, 04:41
If you had to WORK you drove a Hiller. If you just wanted to fly passengers or cruise around you used a Bell. As an old U.S. Army instructor I have seen student pilots bounce the old 23D as high as the control tower without sustaining any serious damage. It was just a more rugged machine than the Bell's but it was a little more work to fly. It had one peculiarity that was not to be tested however; settling with power. It is possible to loose adequate control over the control paddles during serious settling with power and thereby loose complete control of the cyclic system. In my case, entering auto-rotation only allowed the blades to flex down and chop off the tail boom resulting in a most serious problem.

13th Oct 2013, 16:54
Ciao Sillohed!

Great stuff! :ok:

In my case, entering auto-rotation only allowed the blades to flex down and chop off the tail boom resulting in a most serious problem.

Yes, I suppose that would be a serious problem. Am glad though that you survived to tell the tale!

I count a couple of ex-US Army instructors among my friends both great characters, with many interesting stories between them.

Something which may interest you is a wedding which took place in London on 13th June 1962. The wedding was between Charles de Laroque and Toni Robinson. Charles was an old Harrovian and Miss Robinson a BOAC flight attendant (air hostess in those days) and private pilot. They were married in St. Mary Abbots Church in Kensington but .. I don't suppose that will be of too much interest.

However, their reception was held at the Hurlingham Club and, when all was done .. they left the Club for Heathrow courtesy of a World Wide Bell 47 ..

Charles de Laroque and Toni Robinson at their wedding reception at the Hurlingham Club on 13th June 1962

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-VRonHS7ZHuY/UlrIwlElViI/AAAAAAAAOqM/kyVie_1Ng-Y/w812-h554-no/June+13th+1962+400+guests+wish+the+happy+couple+farewell+2.p ng
A World Wide Bell 47 graces the reception in preparation to whisk the happy couple to 'Harry Heethers' (Heathrow) where they boarded an aircraft for Trinidad for their honeymoon

The bride and groom prepare to depart the Hurlingham Club

World Wide only purchased the 'Singing Bell' (G-ARIA) in October 1962 and .. the craft in these photos wears a different livery to that which can be seen in the photo of G-ARIA (on the previous page) while she was with World Wide. Also, this craft displays what appears to be the World Wide logo (on the floats) which looks to be a globe with wings.

Any ideas as to which craft this could be?

As discussed previously, it seems that many of World Wide's singles wore floats.

Nigel Osborn
13th Oct 2013, 20:53
As those floats required the skids being removed, it made engine failures a bit tricky as the floats couldn't run on land, so it meant doing zero ground speed landings; not too easy in a G2 or when heavy!:ugh:

13th Oct 2013, 21:04
Great pictures, but where do you keep finding then from?

14th Oct 2013, 07:49
Nigel: Yes, I can imagine how challenging that could be. In fact I did enquire once about autorotations and landings in general when flying fixed-float aircraft. Doubtless easier done with those types where the skids run beneath the floats.

Nomorehelosforme: First of all .. why no more helos for you ?? :)

Secondly, my picture sources are derived from an eclectic mix of online searches, friends and contacts who know I collect specific aviation images and a phalanx of kind and cooperative photographers who are willing to share the fruit of their labour!

It was in the pursuit of helicopter images and memorabilia (and with the encouragement of former Ferranti Bölkow Training Captain 'Speechless Two' .. later Chief Pilot of BCal Helicopters) that I joined PPRuNe!

To this end, anyone with a mind to contributing interesting helicopter photos or point me in the direction of interesting historical helicopter images and write-ups .. please feel free to mail me at [email protected]

Grazie mille!

14th Oct 2013, 17:42

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-8JmBMTZcjC4/UlwpP9yzdrI/AAAAAAAAOq0/AR0beB-mbxw/w800-h521-no/Two+Gordon+Highlanders+in+a+Bell+47G+Sioux%252C+Borneo+1965+ %2528Ronnie+Bell%2529+m.jpg
British Army Westland-Bell Sioux, Borneo, 1965 (Photo: Ronnie Bell)

Seen here transporting two Gordon Highlanders.

Rumour has it that the Westland Sioux had a larger Perspex canopy than its American counterpart!

14th Oct 2013, 20:31
Montreal Canada 1977. First pic is Bell47 G4 and the second one is a B47 G2. Now the exact model I don't remember. Might be able to compare the bubble size with the Sioux.


http://i683.photobucket.com/albums/vv196/jacdor/IMG_0001_zpsfe4f0f68.jpg (http://s683.photobucket.com/user/jacdor/media/IMG_0001_zpsfe4f0f68.jpg.html)

http://i683.photobucket.com/albums/vv196/jacdor/IMG_zpsb7c41063.jpg (http://s683.photobucket.com/user/jacdor/media/IMG_zpsb7c41063.jpg.html)

14th Oct 2013, 20:48
The British Army Bell 47 G3s certainly do have have bigger canopies than the G4 & G5 that I fly. The G5 is significantly smaller.

I've heard a tale of one G3 carrying pilot+4 in Borneo in a desperate situation - 3 in the cabin and one on each litter kit. Anybody able to expand on this? I bet the MP Guage went round a few times ;o)

14th Oct 2013, 21:34
Fijdor: Very nice photos! :ok:

I don't suppose you would have an approximate date for the 'CF' registered 47?

Mr B: Can't help you with the Borneo event (yet) but .. with regard to the 47 accommodating a pilot plus four what I can say is ..

Bell 47 hovers over Pike's Peak in Colorado with six people aboard in 1964 (Photo: University of Texas, Special Collections Dept.)

14th Oct 2013, 21:53
Savoia I am glad that you posted a photo of that B47 at Pikes Peak because I would not have believed it.

Did some research on my B47 and the only thing found was the serial#
Bell 47 G4A = 7519 CF-SYU believed to be a soloy conversion now
Bell 47 G2 = 2021 CF-KJU

hope this help.


15th Oct 2013, 00:44
Nigel, even the water landings was no laughing matter. I do recall having landed on a Canadian lake once to take advantage of the pristine enviornment and wonderful fishing. Floating around in the middle of the lake was so relaxing. It never occurred to me that I would have to START the helicopter once again when the fun was over. After about 5 rotations on the water I finally had enough tail rotor control to stay still but had I been a bit closer to the willows along the shore it would not have been very funny (not to mention one of the floats going flat or something equally distressing)

Nigel Osborn
15th Oct 2013, 01:21
I found the water landings very easy as the ground tended to be a lot harder! I guess over the years I must have done several hundred in both the 47 & 206 without any problems.:ok:

15th Oct 2013, 02:33
Very interesting photographs. I can vaguely recall several instances in in 1963 where World Wide did some charters for Weddings, etc. One charter in particular involved flying a gentleman in his underwear hanging on a ladder below a Bell 47 and lowering him into a speeding Aston Martin (I think) driven by a beautiful girl. The runway at Biggin Hill was used for the photo shoot. If I recall correctly the poor guy was dragged over the trunk/boot, over the wind screen, along side and eventually into the passenger seat. If anyone in the UK has any photos or video of that shoot PLEASE share it! The shoot was for an underwear manufacturer (St. Marks or St. Michaels or something.) On another subject, the only photo of a working World Wide Bell 47 that I find belongs to my friend Jan Wim Hasselman and it is a photo of his dad Fritz. Here it is although not very informative.

18th Oct 2013, 03:49
This picture was taken in 1957 during a magnetic survey of the Canadian Arctic by Aero Service Corporation out of Philadelphia. The operation flew 600 hours and 16000 miles during that summer.

18th Oct 2013, 09:53
Sillohed: Thank you for your reminiscences as well as the truly nostalgic photos! :ok: I had a wee chuckle as I imagined you spinning about on the lake trying to fire-up the old girl!

Magnetic surveys still throw-up some pretty bizarre contraptions for helicopters to fly with or tow but that surely is a classic, lol!

Some more evidence of early British Bells with floats ..

(Apologies for the terrible photo quality, scanned from a newspaper cutting).

Bell 47G-4A G-AYAE at Fort Charlotte in Lerwick on the Shetland Isles on 7th June 1970 (Photo: Dennis Coutts)

The newspaper article reads:

A helicopter has been seen over Lerwick in recent weeks but it was only on the eve of departure from Shetland that it landed in the town. In Fort Charlotte on Sunday the pilot chatted with county surveyor Mr J. P. Moar who used the machine to lift pipes for a water scheme. The main use however was for aerial surveying for the Ordnance Survey.

The floats bear the word 'helicopters' but in 1970 G-AYAE was registered to Film Flight! In '74 she moved on to join John Crewdson's stables at Southend as part of the Helicopter-Hire fleet.

21st Oct 2013, 08:46
Rent-a-Copter FH1100 G-AVTG as seen at Battersea Heliport in May 1969 (Photo: Brian Bickers)

A 'new' image of G-AVTG (courtesy of Brian Bickers) and which last appears on page 77 (http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/419023-rotary-nostalgia-thread-77.html) wearing the 'Helicopter Sales' livery a year prior to the above photo.

This photo taken just one month before 'TG' perished at the 1969 Paris Air Show where she was being flown by Nigel Osborn's former RN instructor Terry MacDonald.

21st Oct 2013, 16:30
Here is another specimen of the FH1100 on floats in winter, they were just great to work in places where the snow was deep and no crust.
The other pic is of the same aircraft with the eng/tran cowling over the tailboom lost of space to work on the eng.
4 months earlier me and my engineer ended up in the trees with that same aircraft after the engine quit while tracking the blades. Nobody got hurt.

Photo taken Northern Quebec, Canada winter 78/79


http://i683.photobucket.com/albums/vv196/jacdor/FH1100_0002_zps87bbde94.jpg (http://s683.photobucket.com/user/jacdor/media/FH1100_0002_zps87bbde94.jpg.html)

http://i683.photobucket.com/albums/vv196/jacdor/FH1100_0001_zps2000cb69.jpg (http://s683.photobucket.com/user/jacdor/media/FH1100_0001_zps2000cb69.jpg.html)

22nd Oct 2013, 19:39
Does anyone recall Autair Helicopters? There was one in Montreal and I believe there was one in the UK, maybe Reading. The one in Montreal had a rather colorful history I think. I spent one summer flying for them in the Angikuni Lake area of the NWT. Not long after that I think they folded. Not sure.:confused:

22nd Oct 2013, 21:06
Fijdor: Great photos, bravo! :ok: It looks as though you have had a very interesting career.

Sillohed: Freddie Wilcox was a dear friend to my godfather and someone I met many times. It was due to him that my godfather accepted one of his last flying assignments - flying for Freddie's outfit in Kenya.


https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-nA4P9UULx4w/UmbnsetiSrI/AAAAAAAAOyo/PFdAF2V6bwc/w638-h319-no/Autair+S-55+CF-KQD+Sept-%25C3%258Eles+Airport+Quebec+24+Jul+70+%2528Alphie+Tufnell+% 2529.png
Autair S-55 CF-KQD at Sept-Îles Airport, Quebec on 24th July 1970 (Photo: Alphie Tufnell)

Autair Agusta-Bell 206A JetRanger G-AVVH (Photo: Helipixman)

Court Line Aviation Bell 206A G-AXMM (Photo: NA Archives)

Freddie had associations with many different companies including Trent Helicopters and Court Line Aviation.

My godfather was involved in a number of business ventures with Freddie (mainly selling aircraft) but .. I'm not fully au fait with Autair's operations overall so it would be good to hear from someone with a more complete awareness of their history.

25th Oct 2013, 19:58
Fabick Aircraft Co. Bell 47D NC194B in Alberta, Canada in 1949 (Photo: Helicopter Heritage Canada)

This 47 made its way up from Lambert Field, St. Louis, Missouri in 1949 to assist in a gravity meter survey in Chard, north of Lac La Biche in Alberta, Canada. The United Geophysical Company were searching for suitable areas in which to perform wildcat well drilling operations and were able to complete the survey (thanks to this and one other 47) without any major road construction.

Evidently Fabick Aircraft Co. of St. Louis made several seasonal return trips to Canada in the late 40's and early 50's.

Hiller UH-12C G-APDV as seen at Stapleford Aerodrome in July 1971 (Photo: Brian Bickers)

'DV' began her time in the UK with Fison Airwork of Cambridge in 1957. Fison was then subsumed into Airwork Helicopters of Redhill (which is .. I guess .. what Bristows decided to call Fison Airwork after buying them) and was shipped-out to Trinidad in 1961. In '68 the craft was officially registered to Bristows and the following year bought by The Hon. Peter Irving Pellew (aka Viscount Exmouth) who sold her to Shackleton Aviation in 1970.

At the time of this photo the craft was owned by Gerry Clark trading as (and I kid you not) 'Nobby Field Helicopters' of Aveley in Essex. (Almost as good as Pork Farm Helicopters!).

Brian Bickers (who took the photo) says: "It was so long ago that I can scarcely remember visiting Stapleford."

Well, we are glad you did!

26th Oct 2013, 07:54
Hiller G-APDV.

I was working at Redhill when the 12C was bought by the Viscount, I well remember his coat of arms being painted on the tailboom.

26th Oct 2013, 08:45
Autair was Bill Armstrong, an old world helicopter dealer who in the UK mostly operated from Luton and Panshangar but also had operations in Africa. He was a Bell agent there for many years but also wheeled and dealed in buying and selling other types,especially with African government sources...wink...wink.
He started up Court Line ,with ex Royal Navy Sikorsky built Whirlwinds in South Africa and BAC One Elevens at Luton! Fingers in many pies over the years I think.
Much of his document archive with pictures is at the Helicopter Museum along with the remains of a couple of ex Danish S55s that he gave to my company in lieu of a debt !

27th Oct 2013, 14:20
Heli1: You are absolutely right of course, Bill Armstrong it was. Its been so long since I heard that name!

Sillohed: I know you are most likely searching for information on Autair's Canadian ops but the available information seems to be somewhat scarce. I have another S-55 photo and that's about it!

In the meantime and from their UK operations ..

Autair Bell 47G-2 G-ATZX at Luton Airport c. 1970's (Photo: NA Archives)

'ZX' was imported to the UK in 1966 and (as with Brian Bicker's G-APDV above) was sold to Shackleton Aviation (does anyone know who they were) in 1972. The same year she moves on to F & DM Hewitt Ltd. and the following year is bought by Tywford Moors. ZX ended up being bought by Bristows in 1974.

Dennis Kenyon
27th Oct 2013, 17:32
Hallo Savoia ... I love it when a few of the old names crop up especially when I had trade with them at one time.

It doesn't seem to long ago I had a deal with Bill Armstrong up at Luton. I had been offered two B 47s from the MAF but didn't know enough about the various models at the time I suspected they were a good buy though and raised the item with Bill and in no time he had acquired them as a pair and I guess soon found a buyer. I thought that was the end of the matter until I received a decent cheque from the man with a nice 'thank you' note for the introduction. Now that's old fashioned trading.

Now Shackleton ... a quick look through some early 1970s FLIGHT will see their regular advert. They had a London address and operated from the light brown hangar at Coventry for many years. I think the guy I talked to a couple of times might have been a 'Something' McDonald but as I always say, the brain cells aren't what they used to be. The daft thing is I still remember aircraft registration 30-40 years down the road! Best wishes. Dennis K.

27th Oct 2013, 17:58
Ciao Denissimo!

Hope this finds you well.

The Colonel also had some 'trades' with Bill the last of which involved an ex-Ferranti client, his 206, and Autair sending the craft out to join the Uganda Police Air Wing!

The 47's you refer to .. MAF .. as in the Royal Malaysian Air Force?

Ah Flight .. yes, I should have thought to check there!

Shackleton Aviation advert in Flight International, 2nd December 1960


Dennis Kenyon
27th Oct 2013, 21:41
The 47s were from Malta Sav. DRK

28th Oct 2013, 01:23
That is one fabulous 47 all dressed up in it's skirts and everything. There are not many pictures around with the enclosed tail boom! :D

28th Oct 2013, 01:53
I managed to dig around in my old log books and came up with a couple of tid-bits regarding Autair Canada. It was actually Autair Helicopter Services, Inc. and was based in the Timmons Aviation Building, Montreal, Quebec. The president was a guy named D.W. Connor. There is an old news clipping that states that they were the first turbine helicopter operator in Canada following the purchase of an Alouette II in 1958. In 1961 they were registered with the Aerospace Industries Association as having 2 Sikorsky 51's, 3 Sikorsky 55's, 15 47G's and 6 47G3's on order. I don't believe there was a direct connection with UK Autair Helicopters but I could be wrong. I only worked for them one summer around 1964 or thereabouts. As I understand the story and the reason I was looking for some more direct information is as follows: Doug Connor was an American operating under Canadian rules in Quebec. He apparently chafed at the restrictions placed on his company by the DOT and did everything to ignore the feds who were just across the street. Following several summons to appear and explain his actions and failing to do so the feds marched across the street, removed his operating certificate from the wall and effectively put him out of business. Apparently Connor had a reputation for bending the rules and having an attitude about the rules of bureaucrats. I heard this all second hand but it makes a great story if anyone out there can correct or embellish upon it.

28th Oct 2013, 02:22
In reference to Sollohed post. Article copied and pasted from a Canadian Helicopter magazine called "Helicopters" There is also a pic of a S51 which don't show here. They refer to Autair Helicopters Services.


Canada’s First Turbine Helicopters.
First turbine helicopter was imported to Canada in 1958 135-lookback When the first turbine helicopter was imported to Canada in 1958, it cost twice as much as the ubiquitous Bell 47G-2 and consumed substantially more fuel. Performance was impressive, but it was not until the mid-70s that turbine helicopters finally outnumbered piston models in Canada.

France took an early lead in introducing the turbine helicopter. The Sud-Est SE.3130 Alouette II was the first turboshaft helicopter to enter production; its prototype first flew on March 12, 1955. US fighterjet maker Republic Aviation in December 1957 agreed to market the Alouette II in North America. Republic demonstrated the Alouette II to potential customers in Montreal in August 1958, resulting in a quick sale to Autair Helicopter Services Ltd., the first commercial operator of a turbine helicopter in North America.

Compared to piston models, the four-passenger Alouette had impressive performance. It started easily in cold weather, cruised at 110 mph, climbed at 1,000 fpm, carried a 1,000- pound payload, and held the world helicopter altitude record of 34,000 feet. But CFKMW came to an abrupt end on May 13, 1959 when the helicopter nosed over on takeoff at Labrieville while carrying Daniel Johnson, Quebec’s minister of hydraulics (and future premier) on an inspection tour of hydro developments.

The second customer for a turbine helicopter in Canada was the aviation arm of Ontario Hydro. Purchase of the $90,000 helicopter was authorized in 1959 to enhance the utility’s productivity spraying powerline rights of way. Alouette II CF-JMC arrived at Toronto in June 1959.

28th Oct 2013, 15:54

Silloed: Here's the other Autair Canada Whirlwind .. err okay .. S-55! :)

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-uQVSohfJ82w/Um6EgDGQ7CI/AAAAAAAAO7E/OYO3su-q5qQ/w637-h312-no/Autair+S-55+CF-JJL+Sept-%25C3%258Eles+Airport+Quebec+24+Jul+70+%2528Alphie+Tufnell+% 2529.png
Autair S-55 CF-JJL as seen at Sept-Îles Airport in Quebec, Canada on 24th July 1970 (Photo: Alphie Tufnell)

The Shah of Iran visiting Dezful Dam near Ahwaz in Southern Iran c. 1960

I think the Shah was somewhat partial to Whirlwinds because ..

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-D1HamF60Rfw/Um6Eccj-CZI/AAAAAAAAO64/kU1oMaHIDhg/w736-h554-no/The+Shah+of+Iran+visits+West+Burton+Power+Station+in+a+Westl and+Whirlwhind+XR487+HCC.12+of+The+Queen%2527s+Flight+escort ed+by+the+Lord+Lieutenant+of+Nottinghamshire+6+Mar+65.jpg
The Shah of Iran visits West Burton Power Station in Lincolnshire courtesy of Westland Whirlwind XR487 HCC12 of The Queen's Flight and is seen here being escorted by Sir Robert Laycock, Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, on 6th March 1965 (NA Archives)

1st Nov 2013, 20:42
Bristow Helicopters Westland Whirlwind WS-55 Mk III G-AYNP as seen at Redhill in May 1972 (Photo: Brian Bickers)

Another pleasing contribution from Brian with an additional point of interest in the form of a Percival Q6 Petrel, G-AFFD, seen beneath the Whirlwind's tail.

This Petrel was serial no. 21 and had been owned by Sir Philip Sassoon who served as Private Secretary to Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig from 1915-1918 and Under Secretary of State for Air from 1924-29 and again from 1931–37. He was also the Hon. Air Commodore of No. 601 (County of London) Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force.

Sassoon had previously owned a Percival Gull, G-ACGR, in which he competed in the King’s Cup and Folkestone Aero Trophy Race.

As Under-secretary of State for Air, Sassoon carried out the first general inspection of British overseas air stations which he accomplished by touring the various locations in the three-engined Blackburn Iris flying boat. As a result of his travels with this craft he wrote 'The Third Route' published by Heinemann in 1929. (Blackburn Aircraft were of course the firm which built the Turmo turbine under licence from Turbomeca [later to be named Nimbus under Bristol Siddeley] which powered the first Westland Scout).

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-7AO8qtvnWrA/UnQIuGgwxUI/AAAAAAAAO-4/57o-uITO340/w287-h353-no/Sir+Philip+Albert+Gustave+David+Sassoon%252C+3rd+Bt%252C+by+ Bassano%252C+whole-plate+glass+negative%252C+9+February+1922%252C+Given+by+Bass ano+%2526+Vandyk+Studios+s.jpg
Sir Philip Sassoon (1888-1939)

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-SeV7eQogHE4/UnQIuZHCFII/AAAAAAAAO-8/cPzgXx8KirU/w582-h415-no/Haig+and+Sir+Philip+Sassoon%252C+Western+Front%252C+during+W orld+War+I.jpg
Sir Philip Sassoon with Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig aboard a train carriage (which Haig used as his office) on the Western Front during World War I (probably taken in the summer of 1918)

Philip Sassoon's cousin was the poet and decorated soldier, Siegfried Sassoon.

2nd Nov 2013, 08:26
Awwww...you've ruined the thread now Savoia....talking about plank wings! Now the Whirlwind in the picture was converted from an ex RN Mk 3 bought at a bargain price no doubt and pioneered the Bristow SAR ops,based at Manston.
I know I visited the Flight and have the pictures to prove it but not the time or expertise to locate them and put them online I'm afraid.

2nd Nov 2013, 11:19
Heli 1

I have just donned my anorak and beg to differ with your assessment of the Bristows SAR cab being and ex RN Whirlwind Mk 3 - and will probably get shot down by Savoia and others......................!

The Mk 3 had a straight tailboom and droopy aft stabilisers as shown below - or I think it did when I flew it.

What do you think?


2nd Nov 2013, 12:48

Ciao Baston!

I'm afraid its a wee bit of a conundrum not helped (if that's the right term) by the numerous Navy (as in RN) designations for the various Whirlwinds they employed in their service.

Regarding G-AYNP (above) the records do show that she was formerly a Navy craft (ex XG576) and designated as a HAR.3 evidently entering service with the Fleet Air Arm in August of 1955 .. and that's where the conundrum begins .. for the 'modified' tailbooms (at least according to Flight's 'Aircraft Intelligence' briefing) came about in early 1956:


G-AYNP (sn WA71) now lives in Germany as a static exhibit (below):

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-CQx5gxPDNBo/UnTvBTIj3WI/AAAAAAAAPAM/J0JSoWlzRNg/w640-h379-no/XG576+CU+590+Sammler+and+Hobbywelt+Alten+Buseck+Germany+%252 8Marc+Lehmann%2529.jpg
Westland Whirldwind (take your pick of Series number) XG576 CU 590 as seen at the Sammler & Hobbywelt Museum in Alten, Buseck, Germany (Photo: Marc Lehmann)

The only 'solution' that springs to mind is that this (and many other craft from the same period) were modified?

What I can tell you is that the Whirlwinds flown by my late godfather (see below) when he was Chief Pilot of Christian Salvesen's Antarctic operations in the early 60's, were indeed Mk (or series) III's and did have the straight boom as well as the inverted 'V' tail:

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-ZqI636ckZQc/UnTvBtzv8qI/AAAAAAAAPAQ/jjnnFFw9TqU/w906-h554-no/WW+Srs3+Newcastle+19th+October+1960+Awaiting+to+join+the+%25 27Southern+Harvester%2527+docked+at+South+Shields+%2528Ian+M acFarlane%2529.jpg
Westland Whirlwind Series 3 G-AOHE belonging to Christian Salvesen & Co. as seen at Newcastle Airport on 19th October 1960 (Ian MacFarlane)

G-AOHE is seen here awaiting to join the MV 'Southern Harvester' docked at South Shields. She would be fitted with fixed floats for her work in the Antarctic and was accompanied by an additional Whirlwind III.

What we really need is someone with a bit of 'savvy' when it comes to Whirlwind designations!


Plank Cap
2nd Nov 2013, 13:10
Sav and Co,

What's the domed fairing above the tail half way back? If the tail boom had to be drooped by 3 degrees ultimately, surely a few of these fairings must have been in the firing line sooner or later.......... By the way, love the yellow painted rotor head, so retro!

It's quite amazing where wayward blades can get to once free of the droop stops; if I recall correctly a '76 blade tip cap once came into contact (just) with the leading edge of the tail fin on one aircraft (ABZ area circa mid 80s). Over exuberant aft cyclic during an engine-out training manoeuvre was deemed the culprit.

Nigel Osborn
2nd Nov 2013, 13:50
BastOn as usual is quite right that when we went through training, the 3 had a straight boom & the 7 drooped plus different hydraulics & engines. Maybe when they converted that Whirlwind, they did the droop mod too.

In OZ I'm aware the 76 on two occasions managed to strike the fin with the blades. Just shows you how much they can stretch as if you just pull it down, the blade won't reach the fin!:ok:

2nd Nov 2013, 15:25
I thought I would be agreeing with Nigel and BastOn on this subject but on looking in my logbook there is a photo of XG588 - you'll have to believe the registration as I can't get a clear scan of it to reproduce here, but I can see it with a magnifying glass. It was taken by me on the 705 dispersal at Culdrose in November 1964. I've logged it as a Mark 3 but it has the cranked tail boom! I am confused!

http://i1123.photobucket.com/albums/l543/CharlieOneSix/XG588_zpsb3181bbd.jpg (http://s1123.photobucket.com/user/CharlieOneSix/media/XG588_zpsb3181bbd.jpg.html)

UK Serials shows it to be a Mark 3 as well, Serial WA83, first flight 30/9/55 well before the date in Savoia's Flight article notifying of the change to cranked tails. Note there are no droopy aft stabilisers - just the straight ones associated with a Mark 7.

Looking in UK Serials (http://www.ukserials.com/) at other HAR Mk3's I've flown there are photos of XJ402, XG577 and XG586. All have cranked tails and straight stabilisers and the photo of the latter is dated as 9/59. The HAR 1 such as on HMS Protector had the straight tail and droopy stabilisers.

The undated photo of Mk 3 XG574 at UK Serials taken at some point prior to storage in the FAA Museum shows it has the straight tail/droopy stabilisers, yet my own photo taken in the Cobham Hall storage section of the Museum a couple of years ago shows the same machine with a cranked tail/straight stabilisers.:ugh::ugh:

BastOn and Nigel went through 705 a couple years before me I think. Maybe most of the tails/stabilisers were changed in the intervening period?http://i1123.photobucket.com/albums/l543/CharlieOneSix/XG574_zps0a1ed24e.jpg (http://s1123.photobucket.com/user/CharlieOneSix/media/XG574_zps0a1ed24e.jpg.html)

2nd Nov 2013, 17:15
Bear in mind that Bristow completely rebuilt G-AYNP,with the Series 3 nose mod for the Gnome and new cranked tail.In fact the only original Mk3 bit was the centre section. To be really anoraky it was delivered to Westland at WSM in late'69 to have the structural changes made to the front end before going to Redhill by road to have the new tail boom and everything else fitted.
Modifying just the tail boom was a fairly simple operation and several of the late production RN Mk3s were retrospectively fitted under Mod 170 with the cranked version in service.It was standard from 1056 on the Mk7.

2nd Nov 2013, 19:13
I also went through 705 as a stude and flew Whirlwind 3's XG585 and XG588 in October/November 1965 and I believe they both had the drooped tailboom then.

2nd Nov 2013, 20:46
Whirlwind savvy.
HAR Mk 1 and Mk 3 RN with Pratt and Wright piston engines
HC Mk2 and Mk4 RAF Ditto
Series 1 Civil equivalent of HAR Mk 1...Bristow ,C Salvensen, Shell etc
Mk5 RN trials variant Mk3 with Alvis Leonides engine.
Mk HAS 7 RN with Alvis Leonides engine
Series 2 Civil equivalent....and military export.
MkHCC8 Queens Flight version of Series2
Mk9 RN conversion with Gnome turbine
Mk10 RAF new build and conversions with Gnome
Series 3 Civil equivalent....and military export.
Mk HCC12 Queens Flight version of Mk10

Nigel Osborn
2nd Nov 2013, 21:02
When they modded the tail on the 3, did they also change the hydraulics & engine to make it a 7?

2nd Nov 2013, 22:28
Planko/Nigel: I 'get' the blade flapping phenomenon and I think most manufacturers have had to deal with it at some point in the development of their rotorcraft. Its the blade 'stretching' that I find amazing .. as in your 76 incident!

We had a driver come into the crew room one day telling us that the main rotor struck the boom on the D model 500 he was flying after he had shut down. Apparently a 'freak' gust of wind! It just glanced off the boom and evidently there was no significant damage done but, it was disconcerting to listen to the ease with which this happened.

When they stretched the Gazelle (just a couple of inches) they had to all but remove the vertical stabilisers, mind you the Gazelle blades are so 'bendy' one would think you could make animal shapes with them!

I once shut down a 206 and was unable to stop the main rotor (no rotor brake). They just kept on and on milling round (the wind was approx. 25-30kts and there was a slight updraft). After nearly 15mins (thinking the wind would drop at some point) I had to re-start and fly away telling the engineers (post and telecommunications working on repeaters) that I would be back for them later. I found a village green surrounded by trees .. a bumpy approach with the wind as it was but .. once below the tree line the worst of it was gone and I was finally able shut down.

To answer your question on the Salvesen Whirlwinds .. I'm not a 100% sure what the 'bump' is but .. I have a feeling it was an ADF antenna because the Salvesen whaling ships were fitted with NDB towers. I know the 'Whaling Whirlwinds' had a small amount a 'special' avionics (I think a marine band as well as the standard VHF radio) and then, as mentioned, the ADF.

I've only ever seen this tail-mounted housing on Antarctic Whirlwinds, as per the photos below:

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-tu7eL8pcgpY/UnVhcuey6DI/AAAAAAAAPAs/rHfGPw6whIg/w900-h542-no/RN+HAR1+MHS+Protector+XA868+Speedwell+Island+Falklands+Dec+1 963+%2528Joe+Barr%2529.jpg

Royal Navy HAR1 XA868 from the Ice Patrol Ship HMS Protector over Speedwell Island on the Falklands in December 1963 (Photo: Joe Barr)

And shown below with the cover removed:


Oh and yes .. I would agree with you and say that the antenna (or whatever it was) probably came pretty close to the main rotor on occasion!

2nd Nov 2013, 22:56
When they modded the tail on the 3, did they also change the hydraulics & engine to make it a 7?

No they didn't - The HAR3's when I was on 705 were all with modded tails and had P&W engines but the HAS7 had the Leonides. I seem to remember it being much easier to fly than the HAS7 from the point of view of collective/throttle correlation. With the HAS7 in the cruise you were on the point of the cam and RRPM control was much more difficult than on the HAR3.

Also on the 7 you could close the throttle to idle to do a practice EOL but on the 3 you had to be really sure of getting to the spot for a practice EOL as the engine actually had to be shut down as if left at idle it would increase engine RPM when you raised the collective. HAS7 was cartridge start but for the life of me I can't remember what it was on the HAR3. Must have been electric start but the mind has gone blank after nearly 50 years!.

Nigel Osborn
3rd Nov 2013, 06:13
In my time in 705 all the 3s were straight booms with an electric start radial engine. Also only 1 set of hydraulics plus an ECU which gave you engine oil pressure laterally on the cyclic, the theory being we should be strong enough to pull the collective & push forward on the cyclic! Quite tricky!
I think the engine was a Wright Cyclone??

The 7 had twin hydraulics & basically wouldn't fly if both failed unless you had the strength of Arnie. The cartridge was prone to pop the little disc in the nose; in Borneo we found the Malaysian 10 cent coin fitted perfectly! To prevent hydraulicing, we had to crank the engine 72 times to make sure none of the cylinders were full of oil! Great fun!

3rd Nov 2013, 06:50
An Auster Starter Cartridge

I tried to find a Whirldwind starting cartridge but, alas, no joy. I'm assuming though that it can't have been too different from the example above?

An Alvin Leonides advert from 1958

The blurb reads: "The Alvis Leonides Major. A 16 cylinder radial engine of exceptionally compact dimensions gives the Westland Whirldwind better load-lifting and hovering ability and increases the height attainable in forward flight."

There should probably be some sort of medal (or at least a few rounds of drinks at the local Aero Club) to those who had to fly aircraft which required starter cartridges! :eek: :D

3rd Nov 2013, 08:23
After getting my Whirlwind licence at Redhill in September 1969, I had to supervise the removal of all the components from the 6 ex-Navy Whirlwinds. I understand that Westlands converted some of the airframes but Bristow's bought the jig and finished the job. I was abroad so I don't know the full details, I'm sure someone knows.

3rd Nov 2013, 11:18
As an inexperienced student at the time, the only differences I can remember between the Whirlwind Mk.7 and the couple of Mk.3's on 705 in late '65 were the engine types and the "extra" experience of my instructor switching off the hydraulics and my flying the Mk 3 in manual before being sent off solo. I see that exactly half my Whirlwind time in training was on the 3 instead of the 7 and that on several days I flew in both Mks., so they must have been pretty similar. I believe both XG585 and XG588 went to Fleetlands in February 1966 for modernisation but presumably they were not modernised as both were awaiting disposal in September '67 and were sold to Bristows in October '69. Were these perhaps the last of the flying R.N. Mk.3's?

3rd Nov 2013, 15:49
I'm young enough to be able to say that I only flew the Gnome engined Mk10, just before they were replaced by the Gazelle.

We used to be required to qualify for solo engine-offs as basic students at 2 AFTS, RAF Shawbury. Was this also done on the earlier Whirlwinds? It certainly wasn't something that was done on the Gazelle basic course.

5th Nov 2013, 15:11
During my time in the RN, engine-off landings were only done when flying with a QHI. My first solo EOL was therefore at Tern Hill in a Whirlwind 10 on the QHI course.

5th Nov 2013, 19:53
You didn't need to practice engine offs in the early Whirlwind 7s.......oil circulation and overheating in the hover meant you got them for real!

Nigel Osborn
5th Nov 2013, 21:19
A true Whirlwind 3 story, at least I was told it was!
An instructor was taking a 705 student down to Predannack at 500 feet when the student asked what happens if the hydraulic fails in the cruise or faster. Now remember the requirement for hydraulics off was around 50 or 60 kts which is below the cruise speed. The instructor sped up to 90 kts & switched the hydraulics off. The nose pitched up & the 3 banked sharply to the left, making a perfect descending barrel roll & ended up tearing along a field at 60 kts! A typical granite Cornish hedge then stopped their forward motion very suddenly. The 2 pilots still strapped in their seats & the instrument panel took off clearing the hedge & ended up sitting side by side in the next field unscathed! The OAT gauge stuck in the tree about 25 yards away like a spear.
The instructor is reputed to have said " & that is what happens if you switch off the hydraulics going too fast"!
I'm assured this is true! Maybe bastOn knows more as this happened a few courses before us.:ok:

5th Nov 2013, 21:38

Apocrypha are statements or claims that are of dubious authenticity. :ok:

I think that this is one of them. I have never heard of it - does not mean it did not happen, but as I may have my faults, being wrong is not one of them.;)

There was a Hiller 12 E accident, I think on Goonhilly Down, where the crew flew unharmed through the bubble in their seats after an 'interesting' landing. Happy days.

5th Nov 2013, 21:42
Another true Whirlwind story. A certain French exchange QHI arrived in UK not able to speak a word of English. Communication was difficult at times.... However, he was ex-Alouettes and until he flew the Whirlwind 10 he had only ever flown turbines with a manual throttle.

His students didn't often get to fly using the fuel computer - he preferred them to fly using the manual back-up.

To carry out a full to-the-ground EOL in the WW10 one had to take out the flight idle stop so that when the speed select was retarded the engine went right down to ground idle (if this wasn't done the engine responded as the collective was raised). A course colleague of mine was instructed by the French QHI to fly his GH in manual. He was told to carry out an EOL at Ternhill, as was the norm towards the end of the later sorties.

He took out the flight idle stop, lowered the lever and manually closed the throttle. No problem, EOL done. He was then told to take off and do another...but the aircraft was still in manual control. This wasn't the usual configuration post engine start but my fellow student pondered for a mere second and then opened the throttle. Apparently the flame from the jetpipe was quite impressive, but the engine was cooked!

This happened just before lunch. By 1430 on the same day there was a new order in the FOB which said EOLs must not be flown in "manual control"!

Nigel Osborn
5th Nov 2013, 21:56

The student I believe was Nick Boyd, maybe if he's around he could verify. I've forgotten the instructor's name.

5th Nov 2013, 21:57
A true Whirlwind 3 story, at least I was told it was!
When I was heard that story many moons ago I was told the instructor was Colin Moorcraft and the student was the late Nick Boyd. I think the former is down in your part of the world Nigel?

Edit: well that simultaneous post shows there might be some truth in it....!

Nigel Osborn
5th Nov 2013, 23:38
Thanks C16, I'm glad my memory bank is not entirely shot!! What happened to Nick, I had no idea he had died?

Colin I believe was flying in Hong Kong many years ago, another pilot I've lost contact with over the years!

6th Nov 2013, 07:50
Some thoroughly enjoyable stories being retold! :ok:

Pray tell .. were there some similarities between the Westland Whirlwind and the US Army's H-19 'Chickasaw' which was a variant of the S-55?


6th Nov 2013, 09:09

It looks remarkably similar to me - but I don't have any photos of the Mk3 or Mk 7 Dashboards and cockpit controls. Do you?

Regarding the chaps who flew out of a WW3 still in their seats complete with the panel - I just find it hard to see how they got past all that gubbins in front of them without injury, never mind the small things like whirling rotor blades. I can see how people have been ejected through bubble canopies but WW and WX cockpits are pretty tough old things. Someone with the time and inclination could trawl through Lee Howards and others magnificent book "Fleet Air Arm Helicopters since 1943" and find the incident. It will be there if it happened.

However miracles do happen I am sure - just don't recall this one. D

6th Nov 2013, 11:11
What happened to Nick, I had no idea he had died?

I think this happened only a few years ago and was listed in the FAAOA website death/obituaries but the archive doesn't seem to go back that far. One of my brain cells says that he was living in Thailand at the time but I can't remember any details. I last saw him back in the 80's in Aberdeen when he was part of a independent consulting team inspecting us on behalf of an oil company.

Colin I believe was flying in Hong Kong many years ago, another pilot I've lost contact with over the years!

Colin Moorcraft is living in Oz - his contact details are in the members' section of the FAAOA website to which you have access. He appears to live only a 45 mile drive from you!!

6th Nov 2013, 12:39
I never quite got used to the raw amount of excess power the H-19 had on a hot summer's day when fully loaded with fuel, Instructor, two Student Pilots....and a verbal message. Must have been the length of the Verbal Message that got us!

6th Nov 2013, 13:09
I knew I'd seen a notice about Nick's passing - it was here on PPRuNe some 7 years ago:


6th Nov 2013, 17:54
Some Brecqhou History

Past owners of Brecqhou Island (part of the Channel Islands) include: Sibyl Hathaway and Angelo Clarke but it is, I believe, the owner prior to the Barlcay's who perhaps pioneered 'helicoptering' to the isle.

From 1966 to 1987 the island was owned by Leonard Matchan who owned several helicopters and at least one fixed wing.

Leonard took it upon himself to commission a series of Brecqhou stamps and, one is mighty glad he did, for it is from these stamps that we are able to piece together a little of the island's rotary-wing history.

In 1969 Leonard commissioned a first day cover which looked something like this:

First Day Cover of indigenous Brecqhou stamps dated 30th September 1969 and stamped "Brecqhou Island Heliport"

On the cover we see a two shilling stamp (below):

One of the first Brecqhou stamps depicting a Hiller UH-12E4 with floats

Separate sources show the following actual helicopter (below) as having visited the island:

Hiller UH-12E4 over Brecqhou Island c. 1969

Now, I have not yet been able to tie Leonard Matchan to the ownership of a Hiller UH-12E4 but .. on the Nostalgia Thread we have looked at G-ATDW (http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/419023-rotary-nostalgia-thread-110.html#post8086552) a couple of times, each time located at Southampton, each time wearing fixed floats and both times between 1966 and 1967. So, I think there may be a case to surmise that just possibly, Leonard was chartering the Hiller from Bristows?

Let's look at another stamp from the same period:

Leonard Matchan's 75p Brecqhou Island stamp depicting Brantly 305 G-ATLO

Well well. As we know from the Nostalgia Thread, there were very few Brantly 305's in Britain and this one we have certainly covered previously. She is of course none other than Tommy Sopwith's former mount (son of the designer of the WW1 bi-plane the Sopwith Camel .. for those just joining us).

Tommy sold ATLO in 1966 to BEAS (the Brantly distributor) who then sold it within a matter of months to Leonard Matchan (although the craft was registered to 'Bouley Investments' of St. Helier).

A little later we find another 75p stamp issued by Matchan:

Leonard Matchan's 75p Brecqhou Island stamp depicting Gazelle G-BBHU

Now when I saw this I thought .. aye aye .. we're back to chartering and he's rented it from Specialist Flying Training (for one recognises the scheme) but no .. Leonard bought BBHU from Westland Helicopters in 1974 and kept her until 1985 when she was then sold to SFT. So, our island owner was traversing the channel for over a decade in this little Gazelle fitted with skid-mounted float 'bags'.

Regarding the stamps, I came across this:

In September 1969 the then owner of Brecqhou, Leonard Matchan, planned and executed an issue of stamps, more properly called "carriage labels" they were ostensibly to pay for the cost of delivering letters and parcels to a recognised General Post Office. The older spelling of Brechou was used on these stamps. The day after the issue, stamps of Brecqhou were suppressed by the Guernsey Postal Authority when they took over responsibility from the UK for the issue of postal stamps.

One more item of 'stamp history' to come.

Nigel Osborn
6th Nov 2013, 19:26
Thanks C16 & I even wrote on that post!! I didn't realise my memory had been going for so many years!!:ugh:

Idle Cut Off
6th Nov 2013, 19:30
On 705 Squadron,during the winter of 1964/65, we flew both WW3 (Wright Cyclone) and WW7 (Alvis Leonides). The main differences have already been discussed. I can add that during night flying the flame from the Mk3 exhaust was at least 2 feet long and a lurid yellow colour. Most disconcerting as one approached the hover. The Mk7 flame was about a foot shorter and a much more efficient violet colour.

On the Mk7, an aircraft destined to spend much of its life at low level over the sea, Westland had positioned the engine air intake on the very lowest part of the nose. Similarly, as only they could, the identical Hydraulic and Engine Idle Cut-Off switches were placed adjacent each other on a sub-panel just below the centre console.

The Bendix cartridge starter is to be seen in post 2242 concealed behind a small blister shaped panel on the front of the engine clamshell doors. This unit had 6 "shots" (IIRC) contained within a revolving magazine that was rotated by means of a lever under the instrument panel. The Navy, in its infinite wisdom, had disconnected this feature fearful that an incorrectly indexed cartridge would blow the nose off. Also, only one cartridge was loaded at a time as it was felt the additional cartridges might "cook off" during flight.

When the cartridge was fired the expanding gasses acted on a piston that, by means of a suitable system of gears and levers, could rotate the engine through about one revolution. If one had got the mixtures and throttle setting correct, and had turned the Mags on, there was every chance that at least one, then eventually all fourteen cylinders would fire up and join the party. Experienced WW pilots took pride in only ever needing one cartridge..................students were different.

If carbon residue built up in the starter cylinder the piston could not move and the excess gas pressure was relieved overboard by rupturing a safety disc. If the safety disc did not blow there was a real danger that the whole unit would be blown off its studs, through the blister panel and lay in a smoking heap on the deck in front of the aircraft. So, the wiser start crew would hold the blister panel open at arms length whilst ensuring that the more sensitive areas of the body were not in line. If necessary the starter was beaten severely with a leather mallet to dislodge any carbon residue. Later, on ARK ROYAL, the stove pipe jockeys and engineers appeared nonplussed by this procedure and I'm sure they thought it was a punishment rather than a recognised maintenance practice.

When I left 705 as a student and went on to qualify on the wonderful new and shiny Wessex Mk5, I thought my Whirlwind days were over. But, a pier head jump in late 1965 saw me joining ARK ROYAL, on her Far East tour, as the junior pilot on the Ship's Flight. XM684 and XM685 were the last AVGAS fuelled aircraft in the fleet and we were the first Ship's Flight to complete a commission with the same aircraft that we started with. (Even though we ran it close). I grew to love the Whirlwind 7 and under the tutilage of POFMAN and a bunch of long suffering but excellent crewmen, I learned more about helicopter flying than I could possibly have done elsewhere.

XM685 now resides in the Newark Air Museum. Whilst in reasonable condition she is lifeless, in the wrong colour scheme and her place in naval history as the last AVGAS powered machine in the fleet goes unremarked.

6th Nov 2013, 21:07
Whirlwind tales........and what about the diver who was sent down off Portland to locate a ditched Mk 7 and came up asking "which one "?

7th Nov 2013, 09:25
.......opened the doors and belted the starter motor with a hammer to instil some discipline.

Shades of Basil Fawlty and the Austin/Morris 1100!:)

7th Nov 2013, 11:45
Reminds me of a Bristow 206 that landed at Sywell for fuel and wouldn't start.
At the request of the pilot I went for a look and it was apparent that the start relay was operating but the starter gene wasn't turning.

So being short on ideas I gave it a wack with a nylon hammer while the pilot held the start switch down. A huge shower of sparks resulted, I fell off the steps, but the engine started.

Problem now was no output from the gene.

The pilot decided to call for advice and left the aircraft padding next to the pumps while he went off to find a phone.

We all went and hid at the far end of the hangar.

7th Nov 2013, 15:13
ICO: Thank you for that engaging reflection of your Whirlwind flying days. Fascinating!

Baston: Sadly no Whirlwind cockpit shots. :(

Eric: I'm sorry you fell off your ladder. Am trying to picture the scenario which, together with others mentioned on this page, comes across as most amusing!

Some great stories being told across various threads the past few weeks! :ok:

Royal Navy Westland Whirlwind HAS7 XK906 (No date or location available)

Delivered to the FAA in June 1957.

7th Nov 2013, 16:50
I was tasked with a schools liaison visit in the summer of 1979. I can't recall the precise date but it was either June or July and we flew back to my old school. For some reason I didn't log it; probably because by then I'd moved onto the Wessex phase of the course and was recalled onto the Whirlwind just for that day so I wouldn't have ready access to the authorisation sheet and forgot. We received a complaint afterwards. Apparently some old lady claimed we had blown away her wishing well although I later found out we were not guilty - apparently some drunks from the local pub nearby had liberated it from the front garden on their way home the night before. It was found in the brook quarter of a mile up the road!

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y290/shytorque/WhirlwindHelicopterLandaway1979_zps85e66051.jpg (http://s7.photobucket.com/user/shytorque/media/WhirlwindHelicopterLandaway1979_zps85e66051.jpg.html)

7th Nov 2013, 19:21
hi, there. I flew the Djinn for AAS, got 500hrs spraying, quite an experience

7th Nov 2013, 19:32
Hi, there. I flew the Djinn for AAS, got 500hrs spraying, quite an experience

Dear God! That is incredible. Please tell us more!


Sud-Ouest Djinn F-BHOU fitted with spray gear in a field near Wolverhampton c. 1960

8th Nov 2013, 10:05

Another one of Dave's fantastic photos!

Is anyone able to shed some light on where, when, which Whirlwind model and perhaps identify anyone in the photo?

8th Nov 2013, 10:58

Someone standing next to that very rare breed of helicopter, a North American (I assume Bristow's) Gazelle :)


You've picked an interesting one there Zis.

As mentioned on the Bristow thread, she is almost certainly the same craft as captured by Ken Knight at Sabine pass but .. I wonder if she was actually registered to Bristows?

Does anyone happen to know whether there is an FAA equivalent of G-INFO?

The craft in question, N9000A (as your database must show) was serial no. 1470. It seems that by 1986 (perhaps before) she was sold to Air Zermatt in Switzerland when she became HB-XMU (below) thereafter being sold to France to become F-GIBU.

The records show that in 2011 she was sold to 'Gazelle Management Services' of Ruthin in Wales and now flies as G-IBME.

Air Zermatt SA324J Gazelle HB-XMU c. 1986 (Photo: Anton Heumann)

8th Nov 2013, 11:29
The only N9000A on the FAA database (http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry/NNum_Results.aspx?NNumbertxt=9000A) is a Firefly 7 Balloon. No Gazelle comes up on a search of S/N 1470 either.

As to the WW7 starting problems, I seem to recall that the engineers on 705 had resorted to chocks instead of hide-faced mallets by the early 70s.

500 Fan
8th Nov 2013, 12:33
Hi Sav. Rotorspot is the site to look for if you want to check up on a particular registration. It covers pretty much every country and is a great research tool. Here is the entry for N9000A and it confirms the info in your post.

"N9000A Sud-Aviation 341G Gazelle > 342J 1470 N9000A,HB-XMU,F-GIBU"

Sadly, no details on operators.

500 Fan.

8th Nov 2013, 12:37
The craft in question, N9000A (as your database must show) was serial no. 1470.

My eyes are pretty shot at my age but could that registration be N9003A - also a Gazelle? Have a close look at the red line through the last numeral and compare that number to the other zeros.

http://i1123.photobucket.com/albums/l543/CharlieOneSix/Gazelle-reg_zps6e8776f4.jpg (http://s1123.photobucket.com/user/CharlieOneSix/media/Gazelle-reg_zps6e8776f4.jpg.html)

Like N9000A it does not seem to appear on the FAA Database as a Gazelle but both are listed in Rotorspot which also lists a S76A as having been issued with N9000A.

N9003A....Sud-Aviation 341G Gazelle s/n 1566........ N9003A,9Y-TGU,N7448Y,SX-HDL,..??..

8th Nov 2013, 14:48
Mamma mia .. what a lot of confusion!

XX514: Thank you for the link. I simply can't explain that! :confused:

500 Fan: I use Rotorspot the whole time and regularly exchange information with Jos. :ok:

C16: You absolutely right .. it could very well be N9003A! Grief :confused: now what to do?

Zishelix: You have to help us out .. especially as you started it all! ;)

8th Nov 2013, 16:41
Receiving some messages in response to Zishelix's 'Bristow Gazelle'. The first comment highlights what should have been obvious (but I somehow managed to miss) .. the photo from Zishelix shows a standard Gazelle whereas HB-XMU is a stretched version! As I say .. I should have seen that. :ugh:

This means C16 is absolutely correct in his theory about the aircraft being s/n: 1566 .. ie. N9003A.

However, there is also speculation that N9000A also flew offshore in the Gulf of Mexico and was a stablemate of N9003A?

Taking another look at Ken Knight's photo:


What were Bristow doing in this area, Port Arthur in Texas, in the early-to-mid-80's and from where did they 'collect' these light singles?