The Helicopter Museum
American Helicopters



Although American helicopter history is often dominated by the success of Igor Sikorsky and the VS-300 in the 1940s the development of the helicopter in the US also owes a lot to other American pioneers: Arthur Young (Bell Helicopters), Frank Piasecki (tandem rotor development), Stanley Hiller (Hiller Helicopters) and many more.

The Museum has a number of helicopters in the collection that represent these pioneers as well as a number of development milestone aircraft from the 1950s to the present day.

Bell 47H, G-AZYB, C/N. 1538.
Built 1956 in Fort Worth, Texas, USA, as a deluxe version of the three-seat light weight Bell 47 and powered by a single Franklin 6V4-200-C32 6-cylinder piston engine. The Bell 47H was a greatly improved and enhanced version of the early Bell 47G, the main difference being the metal monocoque tail boom, which contained a baggage compartment. G-AZYB was the sole example sold in Europe and one of only 33 built. Originally sold to Sabena Airways in Belgium it was operated in Antarctica to support a Belgian scientific expedition. The helicopter was eventually written-off after a forced landing in the UK and was purchased by Elfan Ap Rees in 1985 before being restored to go on display.

Bell UH-1H Iroquois, 66-16579, C/N. 8771.
Built 1967 in Hurst, Texas, as a 13-seat utility transport helicopter powered by one Lycoming T53-L-13 turboshaft engine. Total production of the UH-1 family since 1956 has exceeded 13,000 aircraft. Originally built in 1967 as a UH-1D it was immediately shipped to South East Asia in support of the Vietnam War effort. It was later upgraded to UH-1H standard and stationed in West Germany; in August 1990 it deployed to Saudi Arabia for the Gulf War. Donated to the Museum in 1992 and collected by road transport it arrived in August 1992. Re-assembly began almost immediately, although some missing components had to be found through various sources before the work could be completed.

Brantly B.2B, G-OAPR, C/N. 446.
Built 1965 in Frederick, Oklahoma, USA, as a two-seat light helicopter powered by one Lycoming VO-360-B1A 4-cylinder piston engine. This airworthy example based at the Museum is owned and operated by Elfan Ap Rees. Imported into the United Kingdom from the United States in 1989.

Robinson R22HP, G-OTED, C/N. H0209.
On Thursday 28th February 2002 the worldís most successful light helicopter of the 1980s-1990s, the Robinson R22 joined the Helicopter Museum collection. Designed and developed by American aerospace engineer Frank Robinson, the R22 immediately met a demand from thousands of private pilots around the world for an inexpensive and reliable two-seater light helicopter when it was launched on the market in late 1979. More than 1200 R22s were sold in the first ten years of production. Thanks to Frank Robinson and his sponsorship, the Helicopter Museum has been able to add a fully airworthy condition R22HP to its collection.

Hiller UH-12C, G-ASTP, C/N. 1045.
G-ASTP was originally laid down on the Hiller production line in Palo Alto, California, USA. in 1958 but was not completed until 1961. Originally sold into the US civil market and purchased in 1964 by Bristow Helicopters in the UK to join other UH-12s being operated by their flying training schools at Redhill and Middle Wallop. A three-seat civil helicopter powered by one Franklin 6V4-200-C33 6-cylinder piston engine it was withdrawn from service in 1976 and sold to a private company. Last flown in 1981 it was acquired by the Museum in 1989 before being restored in the late 1990s to go on permanent display.

Hughes OH-6A Cayuse, 67-16506.
Built 1968 in Culver City, California, USA this four-seat Army scout-utility helicopter is powered by a 317 shp Allison T63-A turboshaft and was delivered for operatiomns in Vietnam in 1968. It was shot down in 1970 but rebuilt for further service with the Army National Guard until retirement and subsequent acquisition by the Museum. The airframe was delivered to Weston-super-Mare at the end of September 1999.

Piasecki HUP-3 Retriever, RCN 622/51-16622,C/N. 51.
Following the success of the early Piasecki HRP naval helicopter, which on the 7th March 1945 was the first practical tandem rotor (fore & aft rotors) to fly, the Piasecki company began a smaller design and the first prototype flew in October 1948. The aircraft on display at the Museum, was one of the three HUP-3s to enter service with the Royal Canadian Navy for utility and search and rescue missions and built in 1954 in Morton, Pennsylvania, USA. With the help of The Helicopter Association International, the HUP-3 was donated to the Helicopter Museum, which had it restored in Philadelphia by volunteers at Boeing Helicopters. It was shipped to the UK in November 1991 and then transported by road to Weston-super-Mare by Museum volunteers. The aircraft is the only example of a Piasecki helicopter in the UK.

Air and Space 18A Autogyro, G-BVWL.
A tandem two-seat gyroplane with a fully enclosed cockpit; the aircraft is fitted with a fully-articulated main rotor driving three blades made of spruce and balsa wood, reinforced with fibreglass. Raymond Umbaugh founded Umbaugh Aircraft Corporation in Florida, in 1957, to develop a new gyroplane. The first prototype flew in 1959. The Museumís example was manufactured in 1966 and is one of four which were originally registered in Sweden and later imported to the UK by a Scottish autogyro enthusiast. It was transferred to the Museum of Flight at East Fortune in 2004 and joined the Helicopter Museum on 21st November 2007.

McCulloch J-2 Gyroplane.
The J-2 was designed by Drago K.Jovanovich and first flew in June 1962. It went into quantity production in 1971, built by the McCulloch Aircraft Company of Arizona. The J-2 Gyroplane, has a three-bladed rotor mounted above an enclosed cabin, stub wings, a fixed tricycle undercarriage and a horizontal stabiliser mounted on twin booms. The Museumís example was built in 1971 and sold to the Bahrain Police. It was withdrawn from service and transferred to the UK in 1981 and was last flown in March 1992. It was delivered to the Museum in December 2008.

Bensen B-8M Gyrocopter, G-BIGP, Serial No. PFA G/01-1005
Built  and owned by Richard Cooper of Shrewsbury, UK, this typical Bensen design was first registered in October 1980. By 1995 it had accumulated 204 hours of flying with its C of A permit expiring in 1997. The machine is fitted with the customary single McCulloch 0-100-1 flat-four two-stroke engine and the jump take-off (pre-rotator) option. It was delivered to The Helicopter Museum in May 2008.

Bensen B-8M Gyro-Boat.
Developed by gyrocopter designer and manufacturer Igor Bensen as a variant of his B-8 Gyro-Glider in 1956, the Gyro-Boat adapted the basic free-turning, two-bladed rotor system, so that it could be mounted on a standard dinghy. A prototype was first flown on 25th April 1956 and was followed by the production model in July 1956. The Gyro-Boat was towed with an ordinary water-ski rope behind a speedboat capable of at least 50km/h(30mph). The Museumís example was assembled and test flown by the General Developments Company of Glasgow and purchased new in the 1960s. Originally in the Brooklands Museum it was transferred to The Helicopter Museum in October 2003.

Click here to view the British manufactured helicopters in the collection.

Click here to view the Eastern European helicopters in the collection.
Eastern European

Click here to view the European helicopters in the collection.
Western European


Bell 47H, G-AZYB


Bell UH-1H Iroquois, 66-16579


Brantly B.2B, G-OAPR


Robinson R22HP, G-OTED


Hiller UH-12C, G-ASTP

Hughes YOH-6A Cayuse

Piasecki HUP-3 Retriever

Air and Space 18A Autogyro, G-BVWL


McCulloch J-2 Gyroplane

Bensen B-8M Gyrocopter, G-BIGP

Bensen B-8M Gyro-Boat