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-   -   Alan Mann Helicopters (Nostalgia thread) (https://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/443466-alan-mann-helicopters-nostalgia-thread.html)

Savoia 21st Feb 2011 12:20

Alan Mann Helicopters (Nostalgia thread)
One of the discoveries we have made in developing the Ferranti tribute site (and I shall be the first to admit that this is a discovery which is startlingly obvious) is that the longer one leaves such endeavours - the harder it gets.

While I have someone collating material and liaising with the web designers it isn't going to be too much of a stretch for me to incorporate some additional information to be hosted on this site and, in this regard, I would like to obtain as much information as possible (documents, photos and stories) relating to Alan Mann Helicopters.

Regarding AMH I have noticed from my enquiries so far that there is, among some, a lack of imperative towards preserving this information and I have wondered whether this is felt because AMH are still running?

The trouble is there is precious little by way of open source material (as indeed was the case with Ferranti) and those with all the memories of AMH's golden years are becoming increasingly difficult to track down. Some of course have already departed.

There is a story to tell involving old man Mann's departure into aviation, Mann's award of the Agusta distributorship and their dealings with numerous clients. It is an interesting often colourful story and one which I am sure some shall enjoy reading.

Anyone with information relating to Alan Mann between 1960-1980 please PM me. I would be most grateful.

Someone such as the 'Savage' would have been an extremely useful source of information.




helihub 21st Feb 2011 12:53

Here's a start... the full list of the new 109s they supplied while they had that role with the registration it was delivered with to the customer


7170 G-OAMH Willowbrook International, Op by Alan Mann Helicopters
7173 G-HWBK Willowbrook International, Op by Alan Mann Helicopters
7174 G-HELY Barratt Developments
7187 G-UPVC Anglian Double Glazing
7213 G-WEST Westland Helicopters

109A MK.II

7244 ZE412 Army Air Corps
7245 ZE413 Army Air Corps
7265 G-EJCB J C Bamford Excavators
7272 G-GBCA British Car Auctions
7307 N109AB John Laing Construction
7347 G-HBCA British Car Auctions
7393 G-OTSL Therm-a-Stor Double Glazing
7411 G-BOLA Laura Ashley Group
7412 G-VJCB J C Bamford Excavators
7437 G-PJCB J C Bamford Excavators

7643 G-LAXO Glaxo Pharmaceuticals

vfr440 21st Feb 2011 13:16

Though not a new delivery, it would be appropriate to record
A109AM S/N 7138 as ZE 411 to Army Air Corps
A109AM S/N 7144 as ZE 410 to Army Air Corps

(both ex-Falklands, 1982)

Savoia 21st Feb 2011 14:45

Helihub that is most helpful - thanks.

I wouldn't mind getting the inside track on the musings which went on with the AAC post-Falklands as it would make a great intro to the sale of units 44 & 45.

From what I understand it went something like this:

Maj Smith: Brigadier Bottomsley, I just wanted to say that me and the lads have been thrashing about in these Agustas for the past couple of days and, well, not to put too fine a point on it but .. they ain't half bad!

BB: What! Are you sure Smith? These contraptions are used by the Argies you know, some sort of relative of their home grown Pucara or something.

Maj Smith: Well, actually sir, they are made in Italy.

BB: Good grief, that's almost as bad isn't it?

MS: Thing is sir, these Agustas are actually doing a good job and the boys in Hereford are telling us they'd like to run some special ops training exercises with them.

BB: Good Lord Smith watch what you are saying there. Why on earth would the SAS want to have a go in these Pucara contraptions?

MS: Sir, the Agustas are actually a bit quicker than the Scout and could be useful in making expeditious insertions and in facilitating rapid responses.

BB: Oh very well Smith. But look here don't muck about with these captured units. Order up a couple from the manufacturer and let's see how these things fly when they're new and properly maintained. I'm not sure however how the MoD are going to like us putting in a request to procure equipment out of Buenos Aires!

MS: Sir, the helicopters are manufactured in Frosinone just outside Rome, in Italy and they have a rep in Surrey, Alan Mann Helicopters.

BB: Manfred Mann! What are you talking about Smith? Now get on with it and let me know when you've finished testing these Pucaras.

MS: Yes sir. :sad:


TRC 21st Feb 2011 23:22


If you were to ply VFR440 and myself with alcohol on an industrial scale, we could make your hair curl with stories of goings on at AMH from the mid 70's to the 90's or whenever VFR rowed away.

The really good times, the bad times and the occasonal awful times - we were there.

Gin for me...... can supply my own containers.

helihub 21st Feb 2011 23:33

One reason behind the order for the second pair was that the first two were no good for hot-and-high work, and the purchased pair were ordered with some kit which allowed that sort of operational environment. At least one got painted up in desert pink and sent out in a Kuwait direction. Hmm, how many kilos of sand were inside when it came back..?

vfr440 22nd Feb 2011 06:16

A109s, AMH and red wine for me!
Oh good, subsidised drinking - I like that idea :D Half-way decent Italian red (it has to be doesn't it!); Vino Nobile or perhaps a good Montepulciano flowing through my veins whilst TRC and I reminisce. You will be well placed, Savoia, to procure same - does one automatically gain 'sconto' when buying by the case?

I was taught such delights by the Tech Rep, Conforti (Agusta expense account :ooh:) and, for TRC, no, his father-in-law is still with us at the age of 92 and Giancarlo STILL hasn't inherited the vineyard and winery down in Tuscany!! Very frustrating - for all.

Helihub LOTS of sand ;) and everywhere, but on the contrary the sand filters that were purchased were never used in anger. They added weight and minor restriction to airflow and then bleed air to exhaust the debris so were a power loss limitation too far. We never asked what TOTs were achieved - just changed the hot sections on a regular basis (those very shiny and irregularly shaped compressor blades!!)

Better zip up or the Mods will remove these musings :( ~ VFR

Savoia 23rd Feb 2011 05:08

TRC: What an excellent idea - bravo! I shall PM you and VFR prior to my next visit and we can agree a location from where we might imbibe and reminisce!

VFR: 'Sconto quantità' doesn't automatically apply unless of course one buys considerable amounts. However, I have found that if one is well acquainted with the vineyard owner's daughter that access to selected stocks (the better wines) is made considerably easier!

Vino Nobile; not bad and there are now several respectable Montepulciano's chief among which (in my view) are those produced by Emidio Pepe's vineyard in Abruzzo and who creates a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo which is probably the best in Italy! (I shall bring some examples for you to appraise).

If you truly appreciate 'Vino d'Italia' and if you enjoy unique flavours then look out for 'Barbaresco' and I have to say that I have been a 'Chianti' fanatic all my life. As a young boy, when I would visit my father on the outskirts of Milano during term breaks from boarding school in the UK, he would always serve me with Chianti mixed with water and from where I acquired the taste. As an accompaniment to duck I think it is unbeatable and I have found that with my favourite British dish (pheasant) a Chianti from the Colli Fiorentini region is a match made in heaven!



Savoia 23rd Feb 2011 05:44


Agusta 109A G-WEST joins the Farnborough flight line on 5th September 1986

Thomas coupling 23rd Feb 2011 10:12

Savoia, I'm curious as to why there should or needs to be a tribute to AM???

Whats so special about them that they need to be preserved in history?

TRC 23rd Feb 2011 12:42

Whats so special about them that they need to be preserved in history?
It's mine and VFR's livers that will be preserved - well, pickled - if this comes off.....

(good question though)

Tarman 23rd Feb 2011 13:37

G-TALY started off what turned out to be one of the most enjoyable threads on Rotorheads.

You never know, Alan Mann might bring out similar interesting stories from those involved. I for one enjoy reading about UK machines from the past.

For that reason alone I would say keep the AM tales and photos coming !


Savoia 23rd Feb 2011 14:29

TC: I felt the same way when I was invited by a school friend to stay at his home over an exeat weekend and was shown his father's collection of beer mats.

But here's the thing. The site we are developing which will record AMH's history .. you don't have to visit it.

For those who are interested; AMH were at the sharp end of UK civil helicopter sales for well over a decade. Initially, Agusta versions of the 206 far outstripped Bell models during which time AMH made significant inroads with individuals and organisations whose helicopter operations would lay the foundations upon which much of the UK's corporate and charter business would be built. Along the way many fascinating encounters were created through the interplay between owners, operators and the AMH staff and that is what we intend to record.


TRC 23rd Feb 2011 14:57

..... the interplay between owners, operators and the AMH staff....
Oh, there was always plenty of that.

ShyTorque 23rd Feb 2011 15:06

Along the way many fascinating encounters were created through the interplay between owners, operators and the AMH staff and that is what we intend to record
Woohoo...airline consultant speak! ;)

vfr440 23rd Feb 2011 15:18

No there really was! Some of them, well many of them, were gentlemen; some were just bloody impossible! I speak with feeling (and the need to drop in to my 'swerve-left' on the way home for some 'relaxing fluid' served by the pint) That's not wine, S, I wish.....but UK driving laws and all that......

We had some fantastic times on occasion (TRC in Klagenfurt, turbine doing the rural route of Austria via Stuttgart, for instance) AND, BTW, noting the reactions of the late Giles Villeneuve as an F1 driver, when he fired up a 206 with the throttle open - and cut it before things got exciting. And then apologised in both French and English; something about 'Sacre bleu, zis damned Italian machine - like the Ferrari - very unpredictable!' :oh:

I'm very much looking forward to the (drunken) reminiscing session with TRC, as promised by Savioa :D _

Brilliant Stuff 23rd Feb 2011 20:34

I am always up for some history. Crack on lads.

JimBall 23rd Feb 2011 21:07

Wasn't it an AM machine that nearly got the British GP cancelled at Brands Hatch in either 76 or 78?

I recall the total power cut about 30 mins before the GP start time, caused by a helicopter hover-taxiing to the bowser and cutting through an overhead power line.

Nobody knew what was happening for ages because even the PA system went off.

Mike Barratt where are you?

Upland Goose 24th Feb 2011 18:25

I think the offending "cable cutter" was a Whirlwind Series 3 from Redhill in 78 - but I am probably wrong. Or was that another time? UG

Thomas coupling 24th Feb 2011 19:53

I get it now, thanks.

You're a spotter right?

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