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The Rotary Nostalgia Thread

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The Rotary Nostalgia Thread

Old 14th Oct 2011, 10:46
  #861 (permalink)  
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Bell Helicopter: A Potted History

For those not averse to a bit of a read, I offer the following piece and would be immensely grateful if those with a better understanding of all things Bell would be interested in contributing any comments, corrections or informed opinions where appropriate.

Bell Helicopter: A Potted History

For thee decades Bell Helicopter created products which defined an industry and, in the process, established themselves as a dynamic manufacturer with a reputation for delivering reliable rotorcraft. By 1970, after the successful launch of the last of the 'Three Great Bells' sales of Bell products seemed unstoppable - Bell was at the top of the pile, was the name on everyone's lips and were an aviation force to be reckoned with. From these heady days emerged a renewed commitment to their XV-3 project and which effort took the form of the XV-15, a development which was to usher in a new breed of rotorcraft and take the helicopter further and faster than it had ever been before.

But, and with the exception of the aforementioned tilt-rotor endeavour, Bell's residence at the crest of rotary ingenuity and market dominance was to wane as the influence of the Three Great Bells gave way to the efforts of competitors and Bell, perhaps affronted by the 'audacity' of others to tread where they had once flown, found themselves in more pedestrian times and which seems to have lasted as long as their initially encountered success.

The Three Great Bells

Bell's legacy was built on their creation of three supremely successful designs, the Bell 47 (1946), the Bell 204 (1956) and the Bell 206 (1966). Each of these aircraft pioneered important aspects of early rotary-wing operations, each were commercial triumphs and each became icons of the industry.
"By the autumn of 1941, Arthur M Young had been testing helicopter scale-models on his farm in Pennsylvania for some thirteen years. After this period of research, many failures and his big breakthrough with the invention of the stabiliser bar, Young had perfected a design that would appeal to a manufacturer. Young's first attempts at interesting aircraft companies in his machine met with little enthusiasm until one of his friends visited Bell's factory. This led to an appointment for a demonstration on 3 September, 1941. Larry Bell and Arthur Young reached an agreement in due course and, on 24 November, 1941, Young and his assistant, Bart Kelley, arrived at Bell to supervise the initial building of two prototypes as specified in the contract. On 23 June, 1942, Young and his team (some fifteen people) were installed in an old Chrysler agency and garage in Gardenville, a suburb of Buffalo. Dave Forman was assigned to supervise the project."

The result of the Young-Bell alliance was that Bell agreed to fund the production of a number of full-scale prototypes (designated the Bell 30) the first of which NX41860 had an open cockpit, an enclosed fuselage and a fixed three-wheel landing gear. The craft was powered by a 178hp Franklin piston engine which drove a two-bladed main rotor and a two-bladed (anti-torque) tail rotor. It was only the third helicopter to fly in America.

The Bell 30 during a test flight and from which the Model 47 was to emerge

From the Bell 30 emerged the model 47 which was certified on 8th March 1946 and went on to become the world's first commercially successful helicopter. By the end of the year Bell had delivered its first examples of the 'YR-13 [later H-13] Sioux' to the US Army and from there the model 47 went on to achieve worldwide popularity with close to 6,000 examples being produced. Among the 47's numerous achievements were an altitude record of 18,550 ft, the first flight of a helicopter over the Alps and non-stop distance record of 1,217 miles between Hurst, Texas to Buffalo, New York.

Bell's refinement of the original Model 30 into what became the 47 was to reveal one of their key traits - namely their ability to apply often substantial improvements to tested designs and which process resulted in the development of highly capable products. This technical 'morphing' resulted in some 18 variations of the Bell 47 as well as the larger 47J Ranger.
A full decade after the certification of the 47 the Bell 204 was to make its maiden flight on 22nd October 1956. The model 204 had been developed in response to a US Army requirement published the previous year for a casevac and utility helicopter. The 204 was, much like its predecessor, of ground breaking design this time offering substantially greater performance over the model 47 Ranger (its closest relative) thanks largely to its 'revolutionary' Lycoming turboshaft engine.

"The US Army's first order was for three prototypes for testing, under the designation XH-40, the type having the H-40 designation allocated to it at that time to identify it in the USAF helicopter category. The first of these prototypes made its first flight on 22 October 1956, and these were used by Bell for their test program. Just before the first flight, six examples of the pre-production YH-40 were ordered by the USAF, all being delivered by August 1958. One remained with Bell, but the remainder were distributed one each to Eglin AFB and Edwards AFB, and three to Fort Rucker, for trials. Duly ordered into production, nine of the definitive pre-production HU-1A were delivered on 30 June 1959, and were followed into service by 74 production examples, of which 14 went to the Army Aviation School at San Diego. The latter aircraft had dual controls and were used as instrument trainers. First major use overseas was with the 55th Aviation Company in Korea, and HU-1As were among the first US Army helicopters to operate in Vietnam."

The XH-40, later to become the 'Huey' makes its maiden flight on 22nd October 1956

The 'Huey' as it was to become known (derived from the 204's original 'HU-1' military designation) did not fail to benefit from Bell's morphing process from which numerous variants were developed including the larger 205 series. The type became synonymous with the Vietnam War, was embraced as an icon of the military helicopter and debuted Bell's trademark 'whop' - the distinctive sound created by the Huey's two-bladed rotor.

The Huey's success was almost unfathomable with the type becoming the the light/medium utility workhorse of the industry resulting in the production (all variants) of more than 16,000 units. Bell had arrived.
While busy churning-out Hueys by the hundred, Bell received another request from the US Army, this time for a Light Observation Helicopter (LOH). The requirement was fielded among a string of manufacturers including Bell, Hiller and Hughes who were the final three contestants. Bell's proposal, the D-250, was endorsed (along with Hiller's) at the design phase but failed to make the grade when it came to the 'fly off' which took place between Bell's redesignated entrant the YOH-4A, Fairchild-Hiller's YOH-5A and Hughes Aircraft's YOH-6A.

L-R: Bell's 'Ugly Duckling' YOH-4, Hiller's YOH-5 and Hughes Aircraft's YOH-6A lined up at the US Army Camp, Fort Hunter Liggett. In the foreground are the members of 'Task Force Whirlwind' the group who were responsible for evaluating each of the LOH contestants. Photo taken on 18th May 1964

Bell's response to this failure was to apply their now well-honed morphing skills to the YOH-4 prototype in an attempt to develop a product for the civilian market. Less than a year after their failure at the LOH trials Bell had transformed their 'Ugly Duckling' into the sleeker all-new model 206 which made its maiden flight on 10th January 1966. It was to become one of the most successful civilian helicopters ever produced with over 7,000 examples delivered and a fleet time in excess of 50 million hours. Bell had arrived - again.

The End of an Era

It was at the apex of their ride of glory (from the late 60's to the mid-to-late-70's) that Bell made some questionable choices the results of which were to unravel their well woven success.

With endless Huey's continuing to roll out of the factory for defence forces the world over and with 206's filling the skies with profusion, Bell's confidence was bulging at the seams and it was little wonder therefore that the company which was now such a rotary-wing force began targeting the heavier market which had largely been served by Bell's kinsman rival, Sikorksy.
But it was this ambition, in the form of the 214ST, which was to herald the beginning of a series of Bell-blunders relating to the civilian market from which I sometimes wonder if they ever recovered. The 214ST, though aimed at the offshore and heavier utility markets, was spawned by a funded requirement from the Iranian government which, once jeopardised, forced Bell to reconsider the 214ST's future. It was at this point that Bell, in my view, could have looked more closely at the difference in demand between their original customer's requirements and the markets they now intended to penetrate, and which they did, but - it was in their analysis that I tend to believe they may have misjudged the market.

"The 214ST was originally designed specifically for production in Iran with development funded by the Iranian Imperial government. An interim prototype was built by Bell in 1977, introducing two 1,625 shp General Electric CT7 engines and incorporating a stretched and widened fuselage. Construction of three definitive ST prototypes began in 1978 but the fall of the Shah in 1979 forced Bell to rethink the original military transport plan, and to re-launch the aircraft with their own funding as a 7,938kg gross weight commercial helicopter produced at Fort Worth."

Bell's devotion to their two-bladed recipe was a hindrance which may well have cost the 214ST its success in that while the type also suffered from non-rotor-related issues the perception among many was that the retention of the two-bladed format sought to borrow credibility from the goodwill earned by the undisputed performance of the 214ST's hardworking smaller sister, the Huey. The two-bladed format had reached its zenith and there was curiosity as to where Bell would go next ... a 30 seat two-blader perhaps?

As it was the 214ST had a blade chord to rival the Chinook and designers knew that with a growth in AUW there was always going to be a problem (in terms of dynamic loads) from trying to swing around two massively heavy paddles as opposed to several smaller (and crucially lighter) ones. The result was that the 214ST was Bell's first substantial commercial failure.

Stirrings Across the Atlantic

By the mid-70's, abundantly aware of Bell's resounding success with the 206, Aérospatiale were working on their answer to the JetRanger, the Ecureuil, which first flew on 26th June 1974. At the same time Bell was developing the 206L LongRanger which, as with her smaller sister, would prove to be a success - but the launch of the Ecureuil had sounded the death knell for the JetRanger even if it was to take the better part of two decades to achieve.

Speculation suggests that Bell's response to the Ecureuil was one of confidence (some suggest complacency) based on their belief in the 'superior' qualities of the LongRanger (with its 'Nodamatic' suspension) combined with the faithful subscription of satisfied Bell customers to the 206 series. Perhaps it was hard in those mid-to-late-70's, with 206 orders pouring in by the day, to perceive that this French manifestation possessed the potential to eradicate the 206's seemingly endless appeal?

A Hand on the Tiller

Protective of the immense success of its Huey product Bell did however display adamancy in sustaining this marque at the fore of her field. Two crucial developments kept the Huey alive; firstly, and hot on the heels of the launch of the 206, was the release of a twin variant, the 212, in response to a Canadian Armed Forces requirement and which development enabled Bell to successfully compete among sections of the offshore market. The second development was Bell's perception in recognising the benefits of replacing the two-bladed rotor with something more efficient and which resulted in the 412. Together these initiatives would see the Huey fly into the 21st century thus securing its place as the world's most popular helicopter.
For me personally one of the more surprising responses to one of Bell's developments was the 222. In my mind the 222 should have been a resounding success fed by Bell's legion of satisfied single-engine clients but, as we know, this was not to be.

"The first of five prototypes of the Model 222, described as the first commercial light twin-engined helicopter to be built in the USA, flew for the first time on 13 August 1976. FAA certification for a Model 222 in preproduction configuration was received on 16 August 1979. The production 222 received approval for VFR operation on 20 December, and the first delivery, to Petroleum Helicopters Inc, was made on 16 January 1980. FAA certification for single-pilot IFR operations in Category I weather conditions was granted on 15 May 1980. A Model 222 delivered to Omniflight Helicopters on 18 January 1981 was the 25,000th Bell helicopter built. Another became a flying testbed for Bell's Model 680 rotor system. Production ceased in 1989."

The 222's launch to market (1980) was perfectly timed, intentional or otherwise, in that the progression towards twins in the corporate world was underway and many of those preparing to upgrade were Bell customers. The 222 provided a viable contrast to the Agusta 109 and an alternative for those wanting something smaller than an S76. But, the craft was let down by the initially poor performance its Lycoming engines and by generally high maintenance costs including those relating to the Nodal suspension system.

The failure of the 222 made it easier for Aérospatiale's 355 model to flourish and provided impetus to the ongoing refinement of Agusta's 109 series. In the process Bell lost out on a formidable slice of an important market, a market they had dominated for over a decade.


If the 214ST and 222 did not classify as anomalies, the former reaching only 100 units of production and the latter 240, then the 206LT TwinRanger certainly was with just 13 examples delivered between 1994 and 1997 and one can be forgiven for wondering where Bell's strategy and marketing team had gone when this (and other) projects were tabled!

In a similar vein, and in more recent times, one might question the viability of the 427 and whether the sales achieved warranted the expenditure invested and then there were those which never reached production including the 400 TwinRanager and the militarised TexasRanger.

In the End

Bell was a company which literally changed the way people flew. Like many, I grew up surrounded by Bells, was taught on Bells and went on to fly Bells during my stint as a professional pilot. They were reliable, practical aircraft. Bell's products were used across three decades to pioneer almost every form of helicopter operation and have flown from the frozen seas of Antarctica to the dusty deserts of the Sahara and just about everywhere in between.

Bell have sustained themselves with defence contracts, with their brave tilt-rotor technology and in supporting their impressive global population but their presence within those sections of the civilian market they once dominated has been steadily diminishing. Given the success of the 206 series its seems incredulous that Bell were unable to capture the light-twin market and one can only sympathise with their efforts in the shape of the 222, TwinRanger and 427. Perhaps the 429 will triumph where its predecessors failed?

Bell were also unable to penetrate the heavy market relying on their 'get out of jail' card, the trusty Huey (in the form of the 412) to represent them in the medium sector and the 407 to run against the Ecureuil in the single market. When the BA139 emerged I thought "well done" - the type seemed a natural successor to the Huey/412 .. but then Bell pulled-out of the project.

These days Bell are talking more about their commitment to the civilian market but, and especially in the light-twin market, they find themselves doing so from the outside looking in - a predicament few of us would have perceived possible in the 70's.

With European manufacturers having refined their skills and offering a comprehensive array of capable products Bell will find it harder than ever to reassert their influence in the civilian market but, a good (reliable, capable and economic) or revolutionary product will always create a market for itself. The question remains .. will Bell once again create such a product for the civilian market?

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Old 15th Oct 2011, 09:12
  #862 (permalink)  
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Westland Gazelle SA341G G-BCHM, owned by Westland Helicopters, at Battersea Heliport in 1977 (Photo: Anton Heumann)
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Old 16th Oct 2011, 14:31
  #863 (permalink)  
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Longside, Peterhead, mid 1980s. The airfield was at the time operated by Bond Helicopters Aberdeen, and PLM used to drop in for fuel from time to time. G-BDBR in distinctive plum colours complete with load lifting tackle bolted on. If memory serves PLUM was also their call sign.

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Old 16th Oct 2011, 21:51
  #864 (permalink)  
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21 Today.

Thanks for the birthday wishes Savvers ... and I'm admitting it ... the big 'Eight O' arrives next year! So as I'm rambling, just to say I surely worshipped the wonderful John Crewdson who in the 1970s after I left Royal Air Force planking ... showed me so much of the rotary world. As time allows, I'm putting together a story of his incredible career. But don't try to land at landing pad he used for 'The Prisoner' series. The hotel have installed a swimming pool on the site although the charismatic JC would no doubt have found enough space for a B105's skids. The concrete boat remains firmly cemented to the wharf tho.' ... and if you're looking for a quaint 'weekend away' hotel, Portmeiron does nicely!

The birthday pic in blue was taken on the balcony of a hotel in France by the River Meuse while overnighting on my way to the 2002 WHC in Aigen. I've added more than a few little laughter lines since then! ... And I've been a 'Jag Man' since the 70s so I guess if the blood was Italian, I'd own Ferraris. Thanks anyway Savoia for the honorary club membership.

Not sure why I'm looking down in G-BENO but I like your 'saying a prayer' idea. You might be interested to know it can work ... cos a couple of years later at a Fairoaks Air Show, I was introduced to a female helicopter fan. We married the same year!

And knowing you're a stickler for accuracy, just to say G-BALE was sold to TONY Everard, who with fellow Enstrom owner Cy Rose, was a founder member of the HCGB. Tony Everard conveniently ran the Everard Brewery.

Now here's an idea ... there's surely enough 'nostalgia fans' on here to have a COF boozy get together some how, somewhere. Who's up for it?

Safe flying to all out there and guys, please keep this wonderful thread going. Dennis Kenyon.
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Old 18th Oct 2011, 17:19
  #865 (permalink)  
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Tempted back on by this thread

Have just read this thread from start to finish - wonderful stuff! I gained my rotary licence in 1985 on F-28A G-BALE, mentioned on an earlier page, buying blocks of hours from Adrian Reynard and being taught by the late and much lamented Hugh Colquhoun. If anyone wants to see it I can muster a pic of Brantly B2B G-WASP (my second Brantly) which I co-owned in the early nineties, joining the other two owners when it was more or less a shell and a box of bits in the back of a hangar. Little did I know we had a five-year task ahead of us, including one or more trips to the US for parts, but CSE Engineering (inc the redoubtable Arthur Thurley) got it airborne in the end.

Sadly school fees and a growing business then curtailed my rotary wing flying, though I have continued to fly a plank. For the past six months I've been thinking I might revert and buy an F280 Shark, so if anyone knows of a really good one, please advise. I've looked at a couple, (at least one of which appears on this thread) but not gone ahead for various reasons.

Last edited by Runnerbean; 18th Oct 2011 at 17:47.
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Old 18th Oct 2011, 19:43
  #866 (permalink)  
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Runnerbean, welcome back!

I commend your effort in reading the entire thread ... phew! I actually trawled through it the other day to up-date the index which I plan to post if and when page 50 appears. Yes, there's certainly a lot of interesting stuff here and .. plenty more out there which we are waiting to see come in.

Please do 'muster a pic' of G-WASP. To spur you on I'm posting what's available through the Air-Britain collection (below). Please do relay any stories you have from your days with WASP.

Didn't know Arthur Thurley but I am sure there are those here who may have.

If you are looking at returning to rotary-wing why not PM the venerable Dennis Kenyon (also a former Brantly B2 owner). What he doesn't know about the F280 series isn't worth knowing and he would doubtless be able to steer you in the right direction regarding any good 'deals' which might be around. As you know, its a buyers market at present. If your budget is a little thin then you could always look at shared ownership as indeed you did before. From what I've heard, co-ownership with a genuine friend seems to work better than groups of three, four or more.

Btw, Dennis also has some history with G-BALE.

Brantly B-2B G-WASP as seen at RAF Wyton on 15th July 1984 (Photo: Derek Heley)

A brief run-down on WASP's history:

Began life as G-ASXE in 1964 when imported to the UK by the Brantly distributor; BEAS. Bought by Freeman's of Bewdley in 1968 and then on to Sims Automatics of Glasgow in 1976. The following year she was registered to Donald and Elizabeth McGillivray and a Mr Walter Glen t/a Wester Air (Scotland).

Ahh de Havilland wrote on the Alan Mann thread: 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. 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.
From West Air/Wasp Helicopters she went on to serve with a number of private owners including yourself.
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Old 18th Oct 2011, 22:16
  #867 (permalink)  
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OK, I'll get that pic off the loo wall in the next day or two and scan it - we repainted the aircraft in the same colour scheme as G-AWDU but retaining the black and yellow base colours. We sold it to Nigel Minchin who also had B2B G-AVIP (ex Keith Duckworth). I think Nigel's theory was that if he had two Brantlys, at any given moment there was a sporting chance that one might be airworthy. Don't know how that theory panned out. I seem to remember that, like Dennis, he also had a Jaguar E-Type Series 1.5 with a 3 x 1 reg no.

I have met Dennis on a number of occasions (a collection of clocks at Booker springs to mind) and flew with him as pax once in a Jet Ranger at Biggin - I doubt he will remember - he did what I suspect was a favourite party trick by autorotating it onto the ground and then lifting it off again on the remaining blade inertia and doing a 180.

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Old 20th Oct 2011, 06:07
  #868 (permalink)  
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Helicopter Resources Bell 206B VH-FHZ in the Antarctic c. 1980's (Photo: Robert Reeves)

Agusta-Bell 206A (operator unknown) at Hobart Domain, Tasmania, in October 1969 (Photo: Russ Ashton) Any details relating to this image including the operator and registration would be appreciated

Bell Kiowa at Caboolture on 29th March 2006 (Photo: Bert van Drunick)

More Aussie JetRangers on pages 41 and 43.


Last edited by Savoia; 21st Oct 2011 at 08:42. Reason: Amendments to photo details
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Old 20th Oct 2011, 07:00
  #869 (permalink)  
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Aussie JetRangers

Hi Sav,

It could be Bristow's G-AWIL AB206A 8049 4/68 to VH-BHV 8/68 or G-AWIM AB206A 8050 4/68 to VH-BHW 8/68, these two moved to Australia.

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Old 20th Oct 2011, 09:43
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Agusta-Bell 206A (presumably Bristow?) at Hobart Domain, Tasmania, in October 1969 (Photo: Russ Ashton) Any clues as to this ship's registration would be appreciated
Unlikely to be Bristow: not their colours, and unusual for them to have anything to do with a Jettie in Tassie

It's possibly Airfast: maybe even Vowells although not their colours either.
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Old 21st Oct 2011, 08:02
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FHZ could not be c.1970 as Helicopter Resources didn't form till 1985 when Bill English of Vowells bought Rotor Services, Darwin, & Hookway Aviation, Hobart. The new name came from a company ballot.
The 206A wasn't a local 206 plus that doesn't look like the Hobart Domain as in 1967 the grass was nicely mowed & I don't recall a concrete cricket pitch!!
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Old 21st Oct 2011, 08:31
  #872 (permalink)  
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Ah well, how some photos are labelled these days beggars belief! If however one can ascertain accurate details .. all the better.

Re: the Tasman 206; If I remember rightly the initial batch of eight 206's delivered by Agusta to Bristows in 1967 (three in March and five in August) were all pale blue in colour.
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Old 21st Oct 2011, 08:39
  #873 (permalink)  
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Indeed Sav,

Bristow Bell 206s were all light blue until the advent of the red white and blue colour scheme. The 206 in the picture does look very like the light blue BHL colour scheme of the late 60s.
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Old 21st Oct 2011, 10:03
  #874 (permalink)  
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Bristow Bell 206

Look at post #887 on this thread
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Old 21st Oct 2011, 10:15
  #875 (permalink)  
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S61-S92 wrote: Look at post #887 on this thread

Agusta-Bell 206A JetRanger VH-BHW at Jandakot Airfield, WA, in 1970. This craft was originally G-AWIM (the 18th 206 on the British register) but was transferred to Bristow's Aussie ops in 1968 (Photo: Peter Rye)
Yes I did think of VH-BHW (and this may well be the craft given that Wigan has also mentioned her) but .. the Bristow name is missing on the Tassie photo and, presumably, this would have been on there before she was shipped-out to Aus?
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Old 21st Oct 2011, 12:09
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Mmmmm ...

Vowell Air Services IIRC only had 2 B206A (converted to 'B' spec.) machines (VH-AAL & VH-PMR) up until about 1978 when VH-FJC (a 206B) then joined the fold ....

I'm sure there were probably others after 1982 ... but by then the desire to operate the AS350 machines became the flavour as the H500 were disposed of ... Sk76 arrived for the Antarctic contracts etc etc ...

Ahhh the "good ol' days"
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Old 21st Oct 2011, 13:51
  #877 (permalink)  
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Aussie Nostalgia: Vowell Air Services

Vowell Air Services Hughes 500C VH-BAG at Bankstown in May 1970 (Photo: Greg Banfield)

VH-BAG at Jandakot in May 1971 (Photo: Geoff Goodall)

VH-BAG was registered to Vowell Air Services on 11 Feb 1970, before going on to other owners. Like its stable mate, VH-BAD, it was used in Antarctica and took part in the 1986-87 Scientific Expedition to Heard Island (The third chopper used in this expedition was VH-HED).

Despite a rather serious crash in New Guinea in 1988 (where it failed to clear a 9,500 ft saddle), it was obviously repaired, since it was sold in February 1993 to New Zealand where it became ZK-HIA. Its last Australian owner was Masling Rotor Wings of Cootamundra.

Vowell Air Services B206B III VH-FHV at Perth Jandakot in 1981 (Photo: Sid Nanson)

Vowell Air Services Bell 206's VH-PMO and VH-PMR at Port Hedland on 27th July 1983 (Photo: Wal Nelowkin)

Masling Rotor & Wing. I have a feeling they used to be the Aussie Hughes distributor?
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Old 21st Oct 2011, 18:24
  #878 (permalink)  
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Anyone have any stories about private/corporate Dragonfly/S-51s from the late 40's onwards? And especially when the last one would have flown?
Stories and memories are probably hard to come by these days but you never know.
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Old 22nd Oct 2011, 00:00
  #879 (permalink)  
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Mmmm ...

.. Masling Rotor & Wing. I have a feeling they used to be the Aussie Hughes distributor?
I seem to remember REX Aviation being the Hughes distributor ... but then it was so long ago .... I could be wrong

Whatever .... somewhere in the attic I have some pics of VH-FJC on duty at Thursday Island in the Torres Straits '78-80 .... I shall try to get my act together!!
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Old 22nd Oct 2011, 05:46
  #880 (permalink)  
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As you've probably seen, there's not much out there on the fifty or so Westland-built civilian Dragonflys. If you do happen upon any interesting information please do share it with us.

In the meantime ..

Westland WS-51 Dragonfly Mk1A G-ALIK at Manchester's Ringway on 23rd August 1951. Westland's demonstrator making the second visit of a helicopter to Manchester's Ringway. It gave demonstration flights to local dignitaries. Later rebuilt as a Widgeon and re-registered G-APPS (Photo and notes courtesy of celebrated Airliners photographer, RA Scholefield)

A pair of BEA Dragonflys (Sadly, no further details)

Westland WS-51 Dragonfly HR3 B-983 aboard a British carrier in Copenhagen Harbour in the mid-50's (Photo: Flemming Fogh)

This craft was fitted with a Sproule net used to scoop aircrew out of the sea. Christ would doubtless have been pleased at this literal application of his instruction to be fishers of men! Another image of this Dragonfly on the previous page.

The R-5 but I think you might find it interesting

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