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The Rotary Nostalgia Thread

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The Rotary Nostalgia Thread

Old 20th Jul 2010, 16:24
  #41 (permalink)  
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The image posted earlier of Colin Chapman (Lotus cars) displays the John Player colour scheme used to repaint G-TALY when it became G-JOKE. In the same image Chapman was sitting on the edge of a Lotus Esprit which was used in the film ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’.

Caroline Monro, the 'pilot' who 'flew' the Helicopter Hire JetRanger 1977 and is the reason Crewdson had to wear a wig during filming.

Low Flier identified himself as having flown this aircraft but was unsure of the registration … only that it was in different colours, akin to a ‘raspberry ripple’ and was crated up and shipped off to Rhodesia in 1980.

Enter Speechless Two … with photographic evidence of the said Rhodesian op and depicting the ‘raspberry ripple’.

We established that the ‘raspberry ripple’ G-BGYF was not in fact the 206 used in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ as it was only registered to Helicopter Hire in 1979 whereas the filming took place in 1977 so we are still searching for the registration of the HH JetRanger used in this film.

Earlier Geoff introduced G-WIZZ to the discussion alongside his experience of having delivered G-TALY from Frosinone to Fairoaks. G-TALY ended up being painted in a colour scheme similar that that of WIZZ and which had been taken from the Team Lotus JetRanger AYTF.

The link between TALY and WIZZ was therefore their paint jobs .. plus the fact that Geoff delivered them both from the Agusta factory. This left the connection between TALY and AYTF being with Savoia who flew them both plus .. their paint schemes.

Enter Dennis Kenyon … who seems, with his partners, to have owned all three helicopters plus .. G-AWJW the 206 which Speechless flew on the Rhodesian Election mission. Now who would have guessed those connections?

Alouette III of the RRAF such as would have been in the regions where Speechless and his team worked.

Royal Rhodesian Air Force Roundel

Last edited by Earl of Rochester; 8th Jun 2013 at 08:53.
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Old 20th Jul 2010, 17:01
  #42 (permalink)  
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Back to TALY


I will be home at the end of August and will look out the album of photos that I put together after the TALY ferry flight. I know it's there somewhere.

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Old 20th Jul 2010, 20:15
  #43 (permalink)  
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Lt Gen Peter Walls, who was Commander of the Rhodesian Combined Operations, at the time, died this morning. An extraordinary man, who was commander of the Rhodesian C Squadron, SAS during the Malaysian emergency, Mugabe asked him to stay on as head of the army after independence. At this time Gen Walls became famous for a quote

On 17 March 1980, after several unsuccessful assassination attempts Mugabe asked Walls, "Why are your men trying to kill me?" Walls replied, "If they were my men you would be dead."
The helicopter in your post looks like a K car of Fireforce. Fireforce typically consisted of four Alouette III helicopters, each manned by a pilot and technician/gunner. Three were known as “G-cars,” and used for troop transport, while the fourth, called the “K (or kill)-car,” carried the Army unit commander, who directed the operations below. It could also be used as a gunship when required.
When I left the service of Her Majesty I was offered a job flying them, but after a few years mud marining I decided that I should get a civil licence so declined. I was in BCalH with Speechless and well remember feeling jealous that he was going! Of course, since then I've actually spent most of the last 32 years in Africa, but it seemed like such a great thing to be involved in at the time.
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Old 20th Jul 2010, 22:33
  #44 (permalink)  
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More jottings and with thanks to the mods

Just tuned in and thoroughly enjoying the continuing stories ... quite a walk down memory lane for we COFs and the brain cells are stirring nicely.

For Savoia. I had dealings with Peter Cadbury circa late 1970s when I was demonstating an Enstrom to him. In the event he purchased a new Cherokee 180. I landed at his strip airfield somewhere near Maidenhead and I'd have to dig out log books to get the reg nos if asked. He went on to acquire G-CHOC later. I recall one of my Enstrom owners (Humphrey Mead) lost his wife Jane to him but it all seemed to end happily.

Over the years, I did fly some 1234 displays, mainly Enstrom but there's no freebie Enstrom at my garden gate! I did get a dedicated Enstrom painting by an aviation artist ... a nice picture which should be around after I'm long gone.

Yes the Branson empire did eventually buy my old Skyline business but chucked it in rapidly when one of the company B206's (G-BUZZ) landed too close to a second 206. Both were badly mangled.

Back to that wonderful flyer John Crewdson. I flew with him on many occasions at a time when I persuaded him to try out an Enstrom for HH's London police contract. I have a piccy of myself flying Enstrom G-BBRS over the Thames on the police contract. It actually made the front cover of Air Pictorial. The BRS was for my b oss: Betram Roy Spooner .. of the Spoonair business at Fairoaks and Shoreham.

And how about this. Following a M/R head service on the Enstrom G-BCOT at Helicopter Hire, the pitch change push/pull roads enclosed within the mast were re-connected 120 degrees out of phase! I think it was David Voy who was the unfortunate tasked to fly the first blade tracking flight (at night) Not much chance of quickly working out which control sequence might have got him safely back down. But he did albeit with some airframe damage.

But back to John Crewdson. I also flew with JC on the first "Rollerball." 1973/4 ish. I recall landing with him out of Pinewood at Blackbushe for fuel. We still had the film logo ... "Energy Corporation" on the nose resulting in the refueller saying he'd charge it! (we did pay tho')

Much of the Roger Moore 'Spy Who Loved Me' remote control scene was filmed with a full size mock-up (G-BAKS) It later stood in the AMH hangar at Fairoaks for a few years gathering dust. The airborne shots were filmed at the then derelict gasworks on docklands. Sadly G-BAKS was lost on the south downs on its way to Goodwood one night in the early 1990s. (RIP JH)

SO ... so many memories, so many names. I can't believe I go that far back but am still flying most weeks. So thanks again Mods for the consideration AND there must be more stories out there .......

Dennis Kenyon.
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Old 21st Jul 2010, 08:01
  #45 (permalink)  
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Geoff: Che sara fantastico! Grazie.

SoggyBoxers: Sorry to hear of the passing of Gen Walls. He was doubtless a capable leader who's contributions to Zim were significant.

Lt Gen Peter Walls (right) c. 1990

It turns out that, on a visit to Hethel, none other than Speechless actually got to drive the very Lotus Esprit used in the film!

Speechless' modesty prevents him from mentioning that he was at the Lotus plant on a Ferranti Helicopters charter for Colin Chapman in which he flew King Constantine to an F1 event where Lotus were racing.

King Constantine II of Greece who was flown by Speechless on a VVIP Ferranti Helicopters charter from the Lotus factory on behalf of client Colin Chapman.

Dennis: Its wonderful to know that you are still flying (and therefore also presumably keeping well). There is little doubt that you are one of the UKs leading personalities in the rotary wing industry and which status is well deserved. Speaking of more stories .. you might consider recording a few of your own, there's probably enough material for a good book! Intriguing also that through you, most of the aircraft we've been reminiscing over have been in your possession! How nicely this links everything together. I do wish you and your family every happiness in the years ahead.

Speechless: Dear Friend, where do we begin? Perhaps first of all (I can't get it out of my head) of what Bob's reaction might have been upon seeing JW & ZB, icons of the Ferranti fleet, plastered with stickers and with their ground support being overseen by Roy Neap decked out in his displayed apparel! Smelling salts and brandy, I think, would need to have been at hand!

The only time I flew operationally with Bob (as opposed to being his student) was in his final professional post as ops mgr of Aero Helicopter in Tanzania. This was, for the most part, a bush operation but .. he had the pilots decked out in tropical whites (I have photos somewhere) and which no one had even seen in that region - save with the occasional visiting Naval ship!

You mention the willingness of the Africans to assist (such as with pushing out the aircraft). Having spent many years on the Continent I have become enamoured towards their people. Some of them devils, yes, but most a collection of humble, genuine, loving, passionate and sincere people.

What Mugabe has done to Zimbabwe and for race relations in general, is unforgiveable, and, seeing as no one has had success in effecting his assination, it will perhaps be up to Providence to execute his final judgment.

Such wanting leadership, and the resulting poverty (in every respect) this inflicts on others means that for some of those who may have been pushing your aircraft, this might remain as one of their 'great' stories .. when they tell others how they assisted in 'helping to make ready to fly' the 'white man's' aircraft.

Mercifully, things are changing, gradually. Improved education and steadily growing economies mean that there is now a new generation of Africans empowered as never before and such people are beginning to make their mark, not only in Africa, but around the world. Africa, in my humble view, is the continent of the future.

For Rhodesia the transition to Zimbabwe was essential even as the reign of apartheid had to come to an end in SA. While what replaced Rhodesia, and the impact it has had upon its inhabitants, may be questioned, I have every confidence that, ultimately, it will lead to something better. What was important then was making that all important transition from the 'white man's' regime to local governance and ... in this respect dear friend .. you played a part. Well done!

Sad to hear that Malloch died in his Spit but well done to him for embarking on such an ambitious enterprise.

I noticed that the ex-Ferranti aircraft had their exhaust stacks removed for the transit. Perhaps to offer protection against any knocks.

So, your contract there ended with an auto into Salisbury! I think everyone involved would have offered there applause for a job well done - as in the entire contract.

Extraordinary - given the landscape of helicopter operations in Africa today, to see UK civilian helicopters in these numbers. A great memory indeed.


Last edited by Savoia; 13th Sep 2013 at 08:45.
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Old 22nd Jul 2010, 19:43
  #46 (permalink)  
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For Savoia,

A big thanks for your kind words ... we COF's need a little encouragement as time goes by and the young batch of whizz kids come whistling by.

I tell everyone that I'm 'semi-retired' but why on earth would anyone stop doing something that is so much darned fun. In my less busy days, these days ... I'm getting offered some super writing jobs. Off next week to do a piece on the 429 ... normally no one would even let me get in one! Hope it will make the front cover of BLADES.

I see the G-TALY - G-CSKY things seem to have run out of steam, but for me its been a terrific read, especially throwing up so may names of the 1970/80s

And here's a slightly late apology. So sorry we didn't have the chance to chat when you visited us with the Colonel at Skyline in the early 1980s! Not me at all and as you mentioned I must have been off & away on something or the other at that time.

I take it you recall Squadron Leader Tony Clarke's standard pre-flight phrase ... "are you hot to trot." A really lovely man He never forgave me for sending him off on a short flying training job. His customer was a Dick Hampton. You couldn't make it up!

Best wishes to all pruners especially those who remember me.

Dennis Kenyon.
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Old 25th Jul 2010, 05:33
  #47 (permalink)  
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Dennis mentioned an incident involving G-BUZZ as heralding the beginning of the end of Virgin Helicopters.

G-BUZZ alongside company Squirrel at Wycombe Air Park 14 June 1997

Last edited by Earl of Rochester; 8th Jun 2013 at 08:55.
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Old 26th Jul 2010, 05:10
  #48 (permalink)  

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Talk about memory lane....

For the record, I was the first pilot at Alton Towers, having answered an ad from Peak Aviation, and we collected JLBI from Gatwick, where John Broome handed over the banker's draft. Those were the days when just about everyone had a helicopter, Laings (Francis Davy), Barratts, the lot. Most of us used to meet at the Ship in Weybridge, because either Air Hanson or Alan Manns used to do the maintenance.

Bob Smith took over from me after about 3 months, I went to Kilroes, then I happened to land at Alton Towers one day on some sort of photo job and got offered my old job back. A couple of years later, Rod Wood took over.

I then worked for JCB for a short while, flying their longranger (RIP Chalky - one of nature's true gentlemen, and you are still missed with fond affection).

Funny how life works out.

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Old 27th Jul 2010, 22:23
  #49 (permalink)  

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More thread drift - its a small world.

Rhodesia - I was there!

Before I went flying, although it was one of the catalysts, (seeing how well looked after helicopter pilots are), I was a PBI. We were stationed at AP PAPA which was in the very north of Rhodesia, in the Zambesi valley near the border with Zambia.

I do not recollect seeing any civilian helicopters although for the election we had a very British Bobby complete with pointy helmet which was a little out of place.

We also were looking after around 2000 guests with about 20 soldiers from our unit. We were also 'bombed' by the RAF on the first day when they dropped several one-ton loads of tentage (without parachutes) directly on our camp!

We also had the daily visit of Pumas and Gazelles bringing in mail and fresh milk in plastic bags - sometimes mixed.

I have two overriding memories - the day when we were 'stood to' loaded and safety catches off ready to defend against an attack by our 2000 guests, and the collective groan that went up aboard the Vickers FunBus on the way home when they announced that Mr Mugabe had won the election.

Just under two years later I was walking through the gates at Middle Wallop to commence my flying career.
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Old 28th Jul 2010, 05:04
  #50 (permalink)  

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Yes, I saw the mention, thanks - that's waht prompted me to write! I just wanted to mention that I came back again!

The only interaction we ever had with G-TALY and Ken was the occasional visit by JLB to their place.

Here's a couple of pics of JLBI - and the instrument panel with Decca!

Photo link

Last edited by Senior Pilot; 29th Jul 2010 at 11:27. Reason: Photos too large for PPRuNe: PACO, please resize!!!!
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Old 28th Jul 2010, 08:29
  #51 (permalink)  
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Dennis: At the time I was with Skyline you were involved with something or other, I don’t remember what, but I think you and Bob had at least one chat by phone.

During the course I stayed with Tony and his wife (If I recall correctly she held some civic post within the community – I remember several times a mayoral looking car coming to the house and Mrs Clarke being decked out in ceremonial apparel). His ‘hot to trot’ question was usually posed immediately after breakfast heralding the short drive to Booker. On the way home he would normally stop at one of his favoured hostelries in Marlow for a post-work pint where he would jokingly assassinate the skills of his students. He was, on all counts, a wonderful person.

One day on a nav exercise Booker got socked in so Tony decided to drop in on one of your clients, Tony Pond, to whom I think you sold an Enstrom. His bird wasn’t there that day so we were able to put down on his neatly constructed pad. As the blades were milling down (this was in TALY) a maroon coloured Aston Martin appeared in the driveway with a chap called Rowan Atkinson behind the wheel (at the time embarked upon a television series called Not the Nine O’Clock News). Tony (Pond) was the perfect host and the lot of us were served a fine afternoon tea. I sat back waiting to see what amusing comments might emerge from the comedian but was treated instead to the spectacle of Tony being largely oblivious of Atkinson’s identity and which led to a line of questioning about the actor’s work and which was, well, priceless! We had a good laugh about it in his pub that night.

You may be right about the TALY story running out of steam but, there may be a couple of puffs remaining. PPRuNe contributor GeoffersInCornwall (who delivered TALY from Frosinone to Fairoaks) has threatened to enter the stratosphere of his environs (loft) and locate evidence of the delivery! This will represent the first image of TALY since post #1 (a big event for this thread).

If you have any TALY/CSKY or AYTF photos we’d love to see them.

I hope your 429 review went well and that it made the cover of Blades!


G-AWLL in Glasgow after your Rhodesian expedition
This aircraft was originally McAlpine's (1968) before being sold to 'Valley of Gleneagles Helicopters' as they were then.

You mention that your Rhodesian exercise was in February 1980 and I’m guessing this brought you back in time for perhaps the only VVIP charter in BCal’s history.

It was the morning of Sunday 30th May when Bob and I were aloft (and I’m reasonably certain we were northbound out of Heathrow) when we shared the same airspace as two BCal aircraft operating (I think) as Papal One and Two. Papal One, if memory serves, was under the command of Chris Hunt (the chap who inducted me into my first helicopter experience). Were you around fro this event?

Remarkable how little information is available about this job.


Good to see you on the thread and to see 'BI' outside Stretton Hall. The instrument panel brings back many memories!


Last edited by Savoia; 29th Jul 2010 at 04:57.
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Old 28th Jul 2010, 14:12
  #52 (permalink)  
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The Pope extravaganza

It was my pleasure to hand the flight to Frayne Coulshaw who was the only catholic captain in the team at that time. A young chap who was similarly inclined got to be the cojo.

Yes I believe the seat incident was a bit of an embarrassment for us but apparently he laughed it off.

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Old 28th Jul 2010, 17:56
  #53 (permalink)  

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You mean these logos? This was after a precautionary landing near LHR due to weather (we made page 11 of the Sun!)

Photo link 1

Since this thread has gone completely awry, did someone mention G-WOSP?

Photo link 2

Last edited by Senior Pilot; 29th Jul 2010 at 11:26. Reason: Photos too large for PPRuNe: PACO, please resize!!!!
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Old 28th Jul 2010, 19:22
  #54 (permalink)  
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Paco: Bravo on finding a photo of WOSP. I have been scouring the net looking for her in an attempt to complete a collection of aircraft images from Speechless' Rhodesian mission. I was pretty certain that WOSP was the newest of the aircraft sent out for the elections and indeed I see she as a JR III. Years since I've seen that bird!

'Shepherd One' is the designation normally assigned to the fixed wing aircraft carrying the Pontiff (usually Alitalia outbound), helicopters use different call signs which vary from country to country. In Italy helicopters from the Italian Air Force use 'Volo Papale' (Papal Flight) followed by the sequential number of flights made by the Pope from the beginning of the calendar year.

Geoff: 1982 Papal visit: Was Chris Hunt involved at all? Were there two aircraft used for this operation?


Last edited by Savoia; 13th Sep 2013 at 08:47.
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Old 29th Jul 2010, 10:24
  #55 (permalink)  
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Papal Flight

aka Volo Papale, Vaticopter, Holy See King ...

The Vatican does not own any aircraft. Domestic Papal flights (Italy) are carried out by the Aeronautica Militare (Air Force) whose unit at Rome's Ciampino airport (CIA) operate a small fleet of AgustaSikorsky AS61 3Ds one of which (the Vaticopter) is used for Papal assignments.

AS61 3DTS of the Aeronautica Militare at Ciampino - home base of the Volo Papale (Papal Flight)

Aeronautica Militare
Celebrating their 50 year anniversary

John Paul II on board the Holy See King!

Night time arrival for Pope Benedict XVI at Vatican City Heliport

Vatican City Heliport aka 'Il Punta di Freccia' (the arrowhead) situated at the Westen most extremity of Vatican City State

Map of Vatican City depicting the arrowhead shape of the city wall (extreme lower left) which surrounds the heliport

One of the Papal pilots .. Francesco Bigiotti


Last edited by Savoia; 13th Sep 2013 at 08:48. Reason: Repair photo links
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Old 29th Jul 2010, 11:19
  #56 (permalink)  

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Here's another one of WOSP - it was loaned to Burnthills Aviation from Wasp Helicopters some time after Don McGillivray's crash. This is me slinging on an Scottish Island somewhere.

Photo link

As for stories, I need more blood in the alcohol stream.....


Last edited by Senior Pilot; 29th Jul 2010 at 11:24. Reason: Photos too large for PPRuNe: PACO, please resize!!!!
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Old 29th Jul 2010, 12:09
  #57 (permalink)  
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More thread drift I'm afraid ........ I'm not a heli pilot (although I do fly fixed wing and gliders) - but my father-in-law was.

He claims to have been one of the first pilots to introduce the Jetranger into the UK, and spent some time perfoming demo's of this type all around the UK as it gained popularity. I'll check through his logbooks with him when we next meet to see if he had any connection with G-TALY. He went on to fly as a company pilot for a chap named David Brown (in Huddersfield I think) as well as doing a lot of instructing. He retired from chopper flying about 10 years ago now.
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Old 29th Jul 2010, 13:57
  #58 (permalink)  
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TechCons: Following the recent renaming of the thread (many thank Speechless, Senior Pilot and Heliport) I shouldn't think there will be too much concern about thread drift.

Welcome to the thread (as Earl would say). The fixed-wing thing ... we won't hold against you!

If your father in law flew for David Brown (as in David Brown of David Brown Tractors) then you could well be right. David Brown were based in Huddersfield so I'd say there's every chance that the aircraft below could be the one he flew as it was one of the earliest JetRanger's in the UK.

We'd love to hear the details and ... especially ... to receive any photos your FIL may have tucked away in log books, attics, cellars or any other location!

G-AWOL, Farnborough, 1970

AWOL (why are you absent dear?) was the 3rd Bell (as opposed to AgustaBell) 206 JetRanger to appear on the UK register and was the 1st 206 B-model (Bell) in the country.

The initial owner was David Brown Tractors of Meltham, Huddersfield, who purchased AWOL in July 1968.

TechCons you are welcome to PM me your FIL's details. I have a feeling he may have known my godfather who did mention having had dealings with David Brown.


Last edited by Savoia; 30th Jul 2010 at 07:21. Reason: Additional Detail
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Old 29th Jul 2010, 14:03
  #59 (permalink)  
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Aagh! 'AWOL
known to the engineering fraternity as 'AlWays Oil Leaks'

Never knew why........... cared for by Alan Manns to the mid-80s, I'd say. Wonder where she is now?
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Old 29th Jul 2010, 16:20
  #60 (permalink)  
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- 1968 sold to David Brown Tractors
- 1971 sold to Camlet Helicopters
- 1974 sold to Darmead Ltd
- 1977 sold to Terry Drury Racing
- 1977 sold to Express Helicopters
- 1982 sold to Gleneagle Helicopters
- 1984 sold to Tagshaw Ltd
- 1987 sold to Jonathan Palmer and re-registered at G-REVS
- 1992 sold to Helispeed Ltd

On 17th September 1994 G-REVS (formerly G-AWOL) crashed at the Hambleton Hall Hotel in Leicestershire and was destroyed. The pilot was re-positioning the aircraft after having touched down on what he believed to be uneven ground. While re-positioning he managed to hit a tree. No fatalities.

AWOL after it had become G-REVS

Last edited by Earl of Rochester; 8th Jun 2013 at 08:58.
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