Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Rotorheads
Reload this Page >

The Rotary Nostalgia Thread

Rotorheads A haven for helicopter professionals to discuss the things that affect them

The Rotary Nostalgia Thread

Old 5th Mar 2012, 11:19
  #1341 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Milano, Italia
Posts: 2,425
Yoyo: I'm sorry that we've not yet had any responses to your uniquely-shaped Dragonfly but, hang in there, this is PPRuNe and strange things can (and do) happen!

The number of those still 'kicking' with hands-on experience of this type are few and those with such experience who venture online even fewer!

We could embark upon some research ourselves if there were a serial number or registration to track but, alas, we are not given this information. There is obviously a story behind it (perhaps an experimental development by Westland prior to homing-in on the Widgeon?).

More 710 ..

710 at a 'Salute to the 40's' open day at Chatham Dockyard

Last edited by Senior Pilot; 5th Mar 2012 at 19:16. Reason: Rotorheads: not subs
Savoia is offline  
Old 5th Mar 2012, 11:38
  #1342 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 1999
Location: On the Beach
Posts: 292
Re: Dragonfly Picture at post 1396

Surely about time someone got that nose wheel facing the proper direction....
Plank Cap is offline  
Old 5th Mar 2012, 20:08
  #1343 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Milano, Italia
Posts: 2,425
Gazelles: Old and 'New'

A couple of pleasing Gazelle shots, one from 1978 and the other taken just a couple of weeks ago.

In the first photo the photographer Steve Aubury writes: "I was working at the wellsite as the geologist at the time. I am not at all used to forums, and suchlike, but would like to see what you are all discussing."

The second, taken by Rick Ingram, was shot at Salisbury Plain where the craft was flying for QinetiQ, presumably in research related work but .. if anyone knows a little more about how QinetiQ use their Gazelles .. your input would be welcome:

SA341G Gazelle C-FEDG of Ed Darvill Helicopters parked outside the engineer/geologist quarters during drilling support duties in the Latornell area (south of Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada) on 14th December 1978 (Photo: Steve Aubury)

Westland Gazelle SA341D-HT3 ZB625 assigned to QinetiQ as seen at Salisbury Plain on 10th February 2012 (Photo: Rick Ingham)
Savoia is offline  
Old 5th Mar 2012, 21:25
  #1344 (permalink)  

Avoid imitations
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Wandering the FIR and cyberspace often at highly unsociable times
Posts: 12,698
I last flew ZB625 on 17 July 1984, at RAF Shawbury. It was a CFS/1 AFTS asset in those days.

Looks like sensitive airflow sensing equipment on the front. Is that a Doppler aerial on the lower fuselage?
ShyTorque is online now  
Old 6th Mar 2012, 06:37
  #1345 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Norfolk
Posts: 22

ZB265 is probably one of a couple of Gazelles used by the test pilots based at nearby Boscombe Down. When I was there 1992/3 and 2002-4 they were primarily used by the Empire Test Pilot School to instruct on the basic techniques required to test and evaluate helicopters - hence the additional instrumentation.

I remember one exercise involved assessing the helicopters service ceiling. The Gazelles were fitted with oxygen equipment and the pilots wore parachutes. When I enquired why I was told that an autorotation from well above 15000ft following an uncontrollable fire would take too long, so controlled abandonment was the answer.

ETPS also had a dedicated Lynx AH7 and a Sea King. Latterly, I know that ETPS were attempting to acquire a modified A109. For arguments sake this A109 was supposed to be "fly by wire" which would enable its handling characteristics to be "altered" in flight. The fixed wing students had a similar facility in he Bassett and Hawk VSS aircraft. I know that ETPS now have a A109 but it arrived after I left Boscombe Down, so I couldn't confirm it's capabilities.

Just too add I never did the ETPS course so these ramblings are from a keen fast jet pilot from elsewhere at Boscombe. I did manage a trip in the Lynx one day looking at the various forms of the vortex ring state and how to get out if caught. Interesting! Keep up this excellent thread.
Hofmeister is offline  
Old 7th Mar 2012, 08:03
  #1346 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Milano, Italia
Posts: 2,425
Steve Aubury has kindly shared another image with us from his oil drilling days in Alberta. He adds:

"In those days money was of little concern and choppers could and would just drop in and make courtesy calls."

"The engineer on this job liked his newspapers and woe betide anyone landing and not bringing newspapers for the crew!"

"1978 and the Oil Industry was on a steep climb still in their fortunes after the energy crisis of 1973."

The drilling assignment that Steve was working on was for Union Oil Canada, the drilling contractor was Bawden Drilling and the well known a Union Latornelle:

A Highland Helicopters Bell 206B C-GHXJ lands in the car park at the Latornelle well south of Grande Prairie, Alberta on 3rd March 1978 (Photo: Steve Aubury)

Of Heath and Whirlwinds ..

A Westland Whirlwind of the RAF's Air Support Command delivers British Prime Minister Edward Heath to the 'Jubilee Conference' at Wilton Park in 1971. Heath is greeted by Wilton Park director Heinz Keoppler

Wilton Park began on 12 January 1946 as part of an initiative inspired by Sir Winston Churchill, who in 1944 called for Britain to help establish a democracy in Germany after the second world war. It takes its name from Wilton Park Estate, near Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, which was used as an interrogation centre during the war. Since 1951 it has been based at Wiston House in Sussex, the Wilton Park Estate remaining in other Government use, currently as the Defence School of Languages.

Between January 1946 and June 1948 roughly 4,500 Germans were made to attend re-education classes there.
Savoia is offline  
Old 8th Mar 2012, 05:10
  #1347 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Milano, Italia
Posts: 2,425

Your assistance please!

From time-to-time I receive images from well-meaning supporters of this thread but where no details are supplied. The image below being an example.

Anyone who may be in a position to provide some details as to which model of the Whirlwind this may be and to which Squadron she was assigned (she seems to be wearing the identifier 831 or 891) - your input would be welcome. An approximate date and the type of ship she is sailing aboard would be terrific!

Just a reminder to those readers who are not signed-up to PPRuNe but who would like to contribute photos to this thread, the email address is: [email protected]

These do not appear to be the 'standard' Whirlwind floats (or at least not the normal fixed floats) and must presumably be of the emergency 'pop-out' variety.

Also .. can anyone identify the device roughly halfway along the top of the tail rotor driveshaft?
Savoia is offline  
Old 8th Mar 2012, 06:28
  #1348 (permalink)  
Rotorheads Moderator
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: PPRuNe
Posts: 3,232
That would be one of the HAS1 Whirlwinds embarked on HMS Protector back in the mid 1950's for Antarctic research. XA870 was one, and is currently at Aeroventure, Doncaster.

Later in the year 'HMS Protector', the Royal Navy's Ice Patrol Ship was due to sail for the first time with helicopters embarked. XA870 was one of the two chosen helicopters for this task., but was painted in the standard RN scheme of Extra Dark Sea grey over sky. Admiralty decreed that they could not operate in Antarctica in these colours and that the two helicopters must carry the high visibility red scheme. Due to the very short time left, it was not possible to obtain the correct paint and so the next best available was "target towing orange'. As a result the two aircraft were painted in this light orange colour with the contrasting black tops.

This hasty decision over time, became a tradition that the Ice Patrol Ship's helicopters would carry orange high visibility markings. Whilst red remained the normal colour of high visibility for other Royal Navy Search and Rescue units. This distinction carried on for many years until 1976 when the last Whirlwind was withdrawn from RN service.

It is believed that XA870 is the first helicopter to have landed on the Antartic Continent. the code number '911' was used only on board the 1955/56 trip and the following year XA870 was also aboard recorded '911'.

The penguin 'nose art' was painted by one of the crew on board 'HMS Protector' as they sailed south in 1955, and another two different designs of the penguin art were seen on later trips. XA870 did not go to the Antarctica after the 1956/57 trip, but remained with the HMS Protector flight at Lee-on-Solent for 'working up' until struck off charge late in 1966.
Airfix did a model of it back in the 1960's, which shows the pop out floats before inflation, plus a perspex dome over what is probably a homing antennae on the tailboom:

From the body language of the two in the foreground, looking at the floats, I would surmise that the inflation was "a bit of finger trouble, Chief"

(edit) a photo of XA868 as one of Protector's Ships Flight while in the Falklands:

and XA866 on the Antarctic

Senior Pilot is offline  
Old 9th Mar 2012, 04:22
  #1349 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Milano, Italia
Posts: 2,425
SP, many thanks for the supporting info on the Antartic Whirlwinds in their "target-towing-orange" livery, great stuff!

I especially enjoy the penguin motifs. Extraordinary how animals take on greater significance when one has spent lenghty periods of time at sea!

Also interesting to note that HMS Protector was trawling the Antarctic at roughly the same time my godfather was serving as Chief Pilot for Christian Salvesen in support of their whaling expeditions.

Senior Pilota wrote: From the body language of the two in the foreground, looking at the floats, I would surmise that the inflation was "a bit of finger trouble, Chief"
Lol, I agree!

Presumably these three-bladed HAS 1's were of the cartridge-starting variety? I have this vision of the driver shouting out the instruction to load the incendiary followed by a loud bang and a cloud of smoke, lol, what fun it must have been back then!

A Hews by any other name!

A stable of 'Hughes's' at Denham Airfield in 1970 depicting G-AWVL in front of Ryman Conran's G-AVVS. A third 300 is just caught in the left of the frame (Photo: John Davidson)

Air Gregory's G-AWVL first appeared on page 20 of this thread.

Hughes 300 N70WT at Biggin Hill c.1976. Behind the little Hughes is Aerial Enterprises' De Havilland DH89A Rapide (Photo: John Davidson)

I was racking my brain trying to remember the location of this semi-circular portion of concrete at Biggin when the clouds departed and I recalled that this was the apron at the western end of Decca's hangar - a place where, if one waited long enough, one could be treated to the aria of a 'G' model 47!
Savoia is offline  
Old 9th Mar 2012, 08:46
  #1350 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: In the shadows
Age: 76
Posts: 291
Originally Posted by Savoia View Post
at the western end of Decca's hangar - a place where, if one waited long enough, one could be treated to the aria of a 'G' model 47!
I feel a song coming on..."Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen....."

Only those of a certain vintage will understand the relevance
CharlieOneSix is offline  
Old 9th Mar 2012, 09:16
  #1351 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Milano, Italia
Posts: 2,425
Kurt, could you maybe expand a little more on the craft you are referring to?

Decca's beautiful little Bell, G-ARIA, at Biggin in July 1970 (Photo: Carl Ford)

A couple of years after this shot ARIA would lose her blue patches and be painted black (except for her tail which remained white). She was used for flight testing of Decca's nav equipment.

C16 .. for you:

An aptly chosen aria indeed by C16 - so chosen (no doubt) in memory of Decca's pipe-smoking helicopter pilot Robin Hood!
Savoia is offline  
Old 9th Mar 2012, 13:23
  #1352 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: LOS
Age: 63
Posts: 563
SA341G Gazelle C-FEDG of Ed Darvill Helicopters parked outside the engineer/geologist quarters during drilling support duties in the Latornell area (south of Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada) on 14th December 1978 (Photo: Steve Aubury)
Great to see that old bird again. I flew it the following winter in the Grande Prairie area. The unique refueling system used bleed air. You stopped the blades and left the engine running, connected a small air hose to a special bung adapter for a 45 gallon drum and slightly pressurized the drum and voila, the fuel was forced thru the filter and hose and into the tank.

Of course you would never get away with that today with health and safety
Outwest is offline  
Old 9th Mar 2012, 14:34
  #1353 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 4,878
special bung adapter for a 45 gallon drum and slightly pressurized the drum
We used the same system in FEAF during the sixties and seventies. A lot of our fuel drums were air-dropped and sometimes the arrivals were a bit firmer than designed.

It was amazing how they would be inflated back into shape whilst refuelling.
Fareastdriver is offline  
Old 9th Mar 2012, 18:42
  #1354 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: The Sandpit
Age: 46
Posts: 75

My father flew N70WT for Weltrade in Ireland, it was also the First Helicopter I ever flew in. I would be very grateful if I could have a copy of the above picture for my album.
CVR is offline  
Old 9th Mar 2012, 23:51
  #1355 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: After all, what’s more important than proving to someone on the internet that they’re wrong? - Manson
Posts: 1,542

Classic 269A.

Manual clutch.

Parallel valve engine O-360?

High speed tail rotor - imagine 5 x 500's approaching at once to get an idea of the noise!

RHD and low console.

Period classic paint colour offered at the time.

The white ship behind appears to be a "B" model
RVDT is offline  
Old 10th Mar 2012, 04:39
  #1356 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Milano, Italia
Posts: 2,425
Satisfied Savoia!

This page has been most pleasing (for me at least) inasmuch as there have been several 'home runs' in respect of Rotorheads linked to the aircraft posted and which is enjoyable not only for me but for the photographers too!

I always send the link to the Nostalgia Thread to each of the respective photographers from who permissions have been sought and they frequently email me with various comments of interest and appreciation.

It was great to land upon one of ShyTorque's ex's, ZB625, and remarkable to receive feedback in respect of C-FEDG from Outwest. North American Gazelles are a rarity at the best of times (of which this was, being the late 70's) so that Outwest flew this craft within months of the photo is great fun indeed!

Outwest: How was the bleed air siphoned-off the engine please?

(During my days in 'Niugini' I became quite fit rolling 200 litre drums all around the place, standing them upright (not the ideal scenario in terms of settling I know) and then manually fuelling whatever one was flying. The pumps had a rotary hand mechanism which was actually quite effective. After leaving Rotorwork and joining Pacific I happened upon a couple of electric pumps which could be connected to the battery but only used this once as it was as slow as hell and bothersome to connect).

Most surprising of all was that we dug-up the craft in which CVR had his first helicopter encounter. I was 'sure' there would be no response to N70WT! In the 70's American registered helicopters in the British Isles were uncommon, in fact I was of the belief that this may have been a visiting demonstrator. I'm not sure if you noticed CVR but .. and while I know the early 300's had little 'piglet tails' .. in John's photo 70WT's tail rotor doesn't seem to be visible at all! Re: a copy of the photo I have PM'd you requesting your email so that I may forward a version (larger than the one posted and with John's blessing).

More Decca ..

[Some of this had been 'done' before on a short-lived thread specifically addressing the Decca ship, so apologies if you have read this previously but .. I think its worth consolidating the info here on Nostalgia]

To facilitate the development of lightweight airborne equipment, particularly that destined for helicopters, Decca acquired a Bell 47-G
helicopter from Worldwide Helicopters in 1966 It was used mainly for Decca Mk 15, 19 Doppler 71 and later for Data Link development and testing.

That helicopter was a three seat model powered by a 200 hp Franklin 6V4-200-C32 engine which gave it a cruising speed of 70 knots and an endurance of 2.5 hours. It was equipped with full night flying equipment and a modified instrument panel which included a lightweight artificial horizon, heading indicator and a hovermeter. In the mid 60's it was fitted with a Mk 8 Navigator receiver, a flight log, and a well as a series 70 light-weight Doppler. During this time period it was also used in the evelopment program for the Doppler 70 series, Doppler 80 series and the Mk 15/19 Decca Navigator.

Decca Doppler for helicopters was proving to be of great interest to everyone in that particular field so Decca did a lot of demonstrating. The receiver aerial was no more than a foot from the ground and without even flying, one could slide along the grass and get a reading of half a knot or less. The output was coupled to a speed meter and a cross pointer meter so that it was even possible to hover blind.

Peter Huggins relates this flying anecdote. "In May of 1966 I was bringing the helicopter back from the Air Show at Hanover in a howling South West wind. It was a slow progress having flown from Hanover to Osnabruk to Nornhorn to Hilversum. From Hilversum to Rotterdam was dead into gale force winds and it took me one hour and fifteen minutes to fly a distance of 35 miles. I was flying as low as I dared to get the lowest head wind possible when something caught my eye below and I found that I was being overtaken by a frightened cow! I was almost stationary at the time".

Peter flew the helicopter occasionally but the main pilot was Edward A. Hood, also known by the nickname of "Robin Hood. Edward was a pipe smoker and would sometimes puff away when flying, much to the chagrin of any passenger. It is not known how long Decca kept the helicopter but the Civil Aviation Authority records indicate that G-ARIA was registered to the Arabian Aircraft Corporation in Brighton in May, 1984. By March 1987 the Bell 47-G was and transferred to France since the C-of-A expired in February 1986.

Decca Navigator Co's Bell 47G G-ARIA at London Gatwick on 12th October 1967 (Photo: Chris England)

ARIA's panel

Still searching for anyone who may know what the device was along the top of the tail rotor driveshaft in the Whirlwind photos. In the version I posted the device seems to be uncovered but in the images from Senior Pilot it is housed under a small white dome!
Savoia is offline  
Old 10th Mar 2012, 07:25
  #1357 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: LOS
Age: 63
Posts: 563
Outwest: How was the bleed air siphoned-off the engine please?
Not sure how the fitting was actually made, but I do seem to remember that it only pressurized the drum by about 1 or 2 psi. There was a regular female air fitting just inside the step on the right hand side of the a/c. You just connected it like you would an air hose to an air compressor. I have used hand wobble pumps, electric pumps, Honda powered pumps....you name it, and the very best was that simple bleed air system.

The Gazzo was a great machine, pass anything but a fuel station

Believe it or not, I actually found a photo of me standing beside EDG, I would have been 22 years old at that time.......man I wish I was still that skinny and had hair again

I would post it, but first I don't know how and second there would be a flood of old friends with wise cracks

Last edited by Outwest; 10th Mar 2012 at 07:42.
Outwest is offline  
Old 10th Mar 2012, 15:42
  #1358 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 309
It was a longtime ago but I think the bleed air was taken from the "P2 something" I could be wrong. You had to be careful, It was regulated somehow for safety. Man was it noisy though.

You could do the same on a B206, I remember an old AME I had on a B206 on floats and he used bleed air from the machine to either refuel or adjust the air in the floats. It was a simple connection, seems to be coming out from the front end of the engine. On a 206 anyway

fijdor is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2012, 05:13
  #1359 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Milano, Italia
Posts: 2,425
A Field of Sioux

Westland Sioux of the Royal Army's Blue Eagles display team attend a balloon meet sponsored by the Daily Express newspaper at Weston Park, Shropshire on 13th September 1975
Savoia is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2012, 07:25
  #1360 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Gold Coast, Queensland
Posts: 924
I don't think they are royal!!!!!!
Nigel Osborn is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.