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The Rotary Nostalgia Thread

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The Rotary Nostalgia Thread

Old 10th Nov 2013, 14:53
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Ladies and Hillers (C16's post above) .. Hmm, makes me think ..

Do you remember on page 111 Viscount Exmouth's Hiller 12C (the one Oldlae recalled from Redhill)? Well, it just so happens that one of Dave Ed's recent (and more beautiful) photos captured this craft on its Trinidadian sojourn:

Originally Posted by Dave Ed View Post


Bristow Hiller UH-12C VP-TCE as seen in Trinidad c. 1961 (Photo: John Odlin via Dave Ed)
Once returned to Blighty this craft resumed its original registration of G-APDV.
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Old 10th Nov 2013, 15:36
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Tearing my eyes away from that gorgeous Hiller(!), the two HCC Mk 8s (XN126&127)were a crab response to Prince Phillip flying the Navy Whirlwinds ....they couldn't have that ....and were relatively short lived,both being converted to stock Mk10s once the HCCMk 12s were delivered.One of the latter was lost in a fatal crash between Benson and Yeovil when the main rotor shaft failed due to corrosion.The survivor is in the Helicopter Museum
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Old 10th Nov 2013, 15:40
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And another tale. The reason I've been told that the early RAF Whirlwinds had the Pratt Wasp was because the postwar government couldn't afford to buy and import new engines so used existing stocks intended for the Harvard.
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Old 11th Nov 2013, 10:57
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Grazie Heli1


US Army YR-4B photographed after performing what is believed to be the first helicopter evacuation of WW2 and which took place on 22-23 April 1944 in the highlands of Northern Burma




.

Last edited by Savoia; 11th Nov 2013 at 16:31. Reason: Correct the original designation of 'USAF' which I had attributed to the photo and re-badge 'US Army' with thanks to the promptings of that renown Navy Flyer and 'handsome' Wessex driver, aka Baston!
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Old 11th Nov 2013, 14:40
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Savoia

I am nervous abut questioning your great knowledge - but is that US ARMY painted under the side triangular window...............?

D
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Old 11th Nov 2013, 16:00
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Baston: I am inclined (in the absence of contrary evidence) to agree that this is probably a US Army craft and have amended the tag accordingly. Thank you.

I have also just read the following:

On 2223 April 1944, US Army Lieutenant Carter Harman of the 1st Air Commando Group conducted the first combat rescue by helicopter using a YR-4B in the China-Burma-India theater. Despite the high altitude, humidity, and capacity for only a single passenger, Harman rescued a downed liaison aircraft pilot and his three British soldier passengers; two at a time.

On 2223 January 1945, another rescue by the R-4 involved several legs for refueling and navigating through passes between mountains nearly 10,000 feet (3,000 m) tall, to reach a weather station located at an elevation of 4,700 feet (1,400 m). The higher than normal altitude required a downhill run of 20 ft (6.1 m) to get airborne.

While the R-4 was being used for rescues in Burma and China, it was also being used to ferry parts between floating Aviation Repair Units in the South Pacific. On 23 May 1944, six ships set sail with two R-4s on board each vessel. The ships had been configured as floating repair depots for damaged Army Air Forces aircraft in the South Pacific. When the helicopters were not being used to fly the parts from one location to another, they were enlisted for medical evacuation and other mercy missions.

In Royal Air Force service, the R-4 was called the Hoverfly. The Helicopter Training School, formed January 1945, at RAF Andover, was the first British military unit to be equipped with the helicopter. Many of the RAF Hoverfly's were transferred to the Royal Navy for training and one was used in 1945/46 by Fairey Aviation to develop rotor systems for their Gyrodyne helicopter.
I submitted an enquiry to the USAF archives on this very photo (originally tagged as a USAF example) earlier in the year but have yet to receive any response.
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Old 11th Nov 2013, 16:20
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Flight 23rd May 1946

The caption accompanying the photo reads:

"Hoverfly is the appropriate name given by the RAF to the Sikorsky R-4 helicopter, several of which are used by the Helicopter School at Andover. In this picture Mr FH Dixon of Fairey's is seen trying his hand at this somewhat difficult branch of flying."
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Old 11th Nov 2013, 16:45
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Two good photo's, page 96 set of plates in Mr. Bristows book show R4

Stacey
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Old 11th Nov 2013, 17:29
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Savoia....What was the query on the Burma rescue? It's quite well documented and I recall meeting Carter and discussing it with him too before adding his signed statement on the mission to the Wall of Fame at the Helicopter Museum.......much much much later in his life he married Jean Ross Howard who founded the Whirly Girls .

Incidentally have just heard from the son of another early R4 pilot,Jeep Cable,who died in the Airhorse crash with fellow test pilot Alan Marsh. He sent me a picture taken at AFEE Beaulieu of a dog sat in an early rescue basket,apparently knocked up to try and rescue someone from the English Channel,probably circa 1945. The effort failed apparently because the victim was too weak to clamber into the basket but must have been a very early British helicopter rescue attempt.

Finally FH Dixon was killed flying the Fairey Gyrodyne......brave people those early test pilots.
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Old 11th Nov 2013, 19:44
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Heli1: The notes I had for this photo indicated that it was a USAF airframe, perhaps loaned or detached to the US Army. Prompted by Baston's highlighting of the wording on the nose, I conceded that the craft was almost certainly US Army and quickly found related information. Earlier in the year I had contacted the USAF archives in connection with this image but no response was forthcoming.

It would have been a wonderful thing to meet Carter Harman. As the narrative suggests .. flying the R4 in such an environment must have been quite a trick!
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Old 11th Nov 2013, 19:57
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The USAF did not exist until 1947.
The Army Air Force was a component of the US Army till that time.
So USAF was wrong, possibly USAAF is more correct, or is there a third way?
The three letters AAF seem to appear in amongst the stencils on the nose.
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Old 13th Nov 2013, 07:28
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Eric: Thanks. I am sure these factors contributed to the initial 'confusion'.


Sikorsky R-4B Hoverfly 1 at RAF Hendon on 21st July 1951 (Photo: David Whitworth)


Sikorsky Hoverfly 1 KK995 at RAF Abingdon on 15th June 1968 (Photo: Caz Caswell)
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Old 20th Nov 2013, 07:28
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Australian Minister for Defence, Athol Gordon Townley, aboard a Westland Wessex at Battersea Heliport in 1961

The notes with this photo state that the Minister was flown to Portland Docks by Westland's Chief Test Pilot.
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Old 20th Nov 2013, 11:40
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I think the Westland Chief pilot in 61 might have been Slim Sears who I believe flew Spitfires during WW2. I met Slim at the 64 Farnborough air show & he kindly took myself & a girl out to dinner that week!
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Old 20th Nov 2013, 13:37
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Originally Posted by Nigel Osborn View Post
I think the Westland Chief pilot in 61 might have been Slim Sears who I believe flew Spitfires during WW2. I met Slim at the 64 Farnborough air show & he kindly took myself & a girl out to dinner that week!
Ciao Nigelo !!

Your memory faileth you not ..

Flight, 7th September 1961

Another town which has close links with its local aircraft company is Yeovil, 40 miles south of Bristol in the neighbouring county of Somerset. Westland Aircraft, which before and during the Second World War made fixed-wing aeroplanes of unorthodox and adventurous design, now concentrate entirely on helicopters and in this regard have commercial links with Bristol; for what used to be the helicopter division of Bristol Aircraft, at Weston-super-Mare, is now the Bristol Division of Westland. There was similar hiving-off from Fairey Aviation in the formation of the Westland Group, giving a Fairey Division at Hayes. The Saunders-Roe division is at Eastleigh, Southampton, and Cowes in the Isle of Wight.

As a result of this integration of all helicopter interests in the United Kingdom, Westland now have a most impressive list of test pilots. Heading it is W. H. ("Slim") Sear, group chief test pilot, with headquarters at Yeovil. At White Waltham, where the Fairey division carries out test flying, is W. R. Gellatly, deputy group chief test pilot; deputy chief test pilot at the division is J. O. Matthews. In the Saunders-Roe division there are two centres of activity, at Eastleigh where Ken Reid is chief test pilot, and at Cowes where a similar position is held by Peter Lamb. Then at Weston-super-Mare, the Bristol division, "Sox" Hosegood is chief test pilot and P. R. Wilson his deputy.

Each of these Westland centres has its team of able and experienced rotating-wing pilots. At Yeovil are John Fay, chief instructor to the Westland helicopter training unit, Leo De Vigne (whose present responsibility is the Gnome Whirlwind), Derek Colvin, Ron Crayton and Jack Fraser. At Waltham is J. G. P. Morton, who in addition to the Rotodyne still does a lot of Gannet flying; at Weston-super-Mare, D. F. Farquharson and R. Smith (as in my late godfather); at the Saunders-Roe division, J. J. M. Jeffery and H. Phillips.
A couple of illustrations from the same article:


Test flying a Westland Whirlwind south of Yeovil airfield near the war memorial on Ham Hill


A Westland Wessex at Yeovil having a compass swing near the control tower and test pilots' offices

Nigelo .. I would say, looking at the photo, that there is indeed every chance that it was 'Slim' at the controls with the Aussie Defence Minister:


W.H. 'Slim' Sear


W.H. 'Slim' Sear mounting a Westland Wessex

Originally Posted by bast0n View Post
Savoia: The picture of the Hoverfly at Abingdon above does not ring true for a Sikorsky helicopter as there is no pool of hydraulic and other fluids under it..........
The ground crew (which had literally moments before manoeuvered the craft into position) can be seen beneath the Hoverfly's tail rotor heaving on a rope pulling another aircraft into place!
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Old 20th Nov 2013, 16:11
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That close up of Slim was taken with the Westminster prototype ,which used Sikorsky S-60 dynamics married to twin turbine engines.could have been a good machine if Westland had stuck with it. Instead the technology went back to the US,leading to the S-64.
Is Slim still around? I know most of those listed in the Flight article are no longer with us ,although have recently been in touch with John Morton and Sox Hosegood ,and I think John Fay is still alive.
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Old 20th Nov 2013, 16:29
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Originally Posted by heli1 View Post

That close up of Slim was taken with the Westminster prototype, which used Sikorsky S-60 dynamics married to twin turbine engines. Could have been a good machine if Westland had stuck with it. Instead the technology went back to the US, leading to the S-64.

Is Slim still around? I know most of those listed in the Flight article are no longer with us, although have recently been in touch with John Morton and Sox Hosegood, and I think John Fay is still alive.
Ha ha .. was wondering what on earth it was, that explains it! The Colonel also believed the Westminster had considerable potential but, there we are, t'was not to be.

In a similar vein (and which I have mentioned before) the much-troubled WG30 could (in my humble view) have been a success had they addressed its shortcomings swiftly and comprehensively.

ps: Please let Morton and Hosegood know that their exploits are still remembered!

pps: In fact on the H&N forum I read that Alex Crawford is to write a new book about the development of the Belvedere.
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Old 20th Nov 2013, 16:53
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WG30

Fondly remembered Sav ... cos IF the WG30 had been fitted with the later engines, my aviation career might have changed somewhat.

I attended Yeovil for an invited interview ... the idea being that as an aircraft sales person who had developed a reputation in the industry (trifle unfounded) for selling helicopters I would join the great company. They even put me up for a night at the local 'Three Choughs' hotel. However, I wrecked my chances of a job when I explained the type didn't have any kind of future with the old Gem 40s fitted. Of course the interview board shot me down well & truly, so I stayed with the Enstrom! Few regrets tho' mate! Dennis K.
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Old 21st Nov 2013, 07:55
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Leo De Vigne

The mention of Leo reminded me when he came out to the Bristow operation at Abu Dhabi to fly the Whirlwinds. In the course of several chats, I looked after the Whirlwinds there, he mentioned that if a Whirlwind was required to lift a heavy load we should adjust the RRPM to 220 (the lower limit) instead of the max 222 at which we normally set it.
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Old 21st Nov 2013, 10:07
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I too can remember Leo De Vigne. I believe our paths crossed at Kharg Island during the period when Peter Boor was Chief Pilot. Leo was giving some Whirlwind familiarization to one of the many American pilots that Bristow had recruited at that time. I don't think Leo was getting through to one particular individual as, from a slight distance, I heard Leo in a slightly raised voice say "I know what it says in the Flight Manual, I wrote it"
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