designers had been seriously experimenting with helicopters ever
since Paul Cornu’s first historic flight in France in 1907 and by
1935 his compatriot Louis Breguet was flying a fully controllable
helicopter. He was followed by Professor Focke in Germany in 1936
and the Weir Company in Great Britain in 1938. By the early 1940s
both Focke and Anton Flettner had helicopters for the German Army
and Navy respectively.
helicopter development was led by the UK, France and Italy with
ongoing amalgamation that crystallised in the 1990s with the
formation of two major companies, Eurocopter (formed by the merger
of the helicopter divisions of Aerospatiale in France and
Messerschmitt- Bölkow -Blohm in Germany) and AgustaWestland which
brought the Italian and British helicopter manufacturers together
MkII, MM81205, GdiF-128, C/N 7336
Agusta entered the rotorcraft market in the early 1950s when
they acquired the licence to build the Bell 47G. In 1967 the
company introduced the A109, a seven-seat, 2200-2400kg
weight category helicopter, targeted at the corporate owner.
The Italian styling of the A109, with twin engines,
retractable landing gear, high speed and streamlined
fuselage generated customer interest and large sales
numbers. GdiF-128 was the 5th delivered to the Guardia di
Finanza in 1986. Although an integral part of the Italian
Armed Forces the "Guardia di Finanza" , broadly interpreted
as "Tax & Customs Police", are an integral part of the
Italian Armed Forces, but come under the control of the
Ministry of Economy and Finance and police Italy's borders
and coasts. The Museum’s aircraft was declared surplus to
requirements in June 2010 and withdrawn from use and placed
in storage at Frosinone. It was delivered to The Helicopter
Museum on 6th October 2010. Two days later the helicopter
was unveiled by UK Tourism & Heritage Minister, John Penrose
MP, and officially handed over to The Museum by Graham Cole,
AgustaWestland's Managing Director, during a ceremony on 8th
Alouette SA318C, A-41,C/N 1958.
Originally designed by Sud-Est to meet a number of civil and
military requirements, the Alouette II was the first
turbine-powered helicopter in the world to go into
production, having been completely re-designed from the
original Alouette I around the new then new 400 shp
Turbomeca Artouste I turbo-shaft engine. Flown for the first
time on 12th March 1955, a total of over 1300 Alouette IIs
were manufactured by 1975 when production ceased. The
Museum’s example, A-41, served with the Belgian Army in
liaison, photographic, communication and training roles from
its delivery in 1967 until being withdrawn from service in
2005. Following a period in storage it was then passed to
the Brussels Air Museum and exchanged by Elfan Ap Rees for a
surplus Bristol Sycamore. It arrived at the Helicopter
Museum in February 2008.
47G-3B1 Sioux AH Mk.1, XT190, C/N. WA349.
In 1963 several types of helicopter were evaluated at Middle
Wallop to find a suitable replacement for the Skeeter and in
1964 the decision that the Agusta-Bell 47G was the winner
was made public with an initial contract for 200 aircraft
placed shortly afterwards. Powered by one Lycoming
TVO-435-B1A 6-cylinder turbo supercharged piston engine. The
first 50 Agusta-Bell 47G-3B1 aircraft were built by Agusta .
XT190 was built in 1965 under licence by Westland
Helicopters at Yeovil, Somerset, and delivered to the Army
Air Corps in November 1965, serving in Cyprus with the
United Nation Forces in Cyprus (UNFICYP) Headquarters Flight
until being retired in March 1978 and placed in storage. It
was acquired by the Museum in 1995.
Sud Ouest SO1221
Djinn, 1058/CDL, C/N. FR108.
At the end of the second world war French engineers visited
Germany to compare their ideas on pressure jet helicopters
with work that had been carried out by Friedrich von
Doblehoff between 1942 and 1945. This visit was followed by
development work which progressed the concept of a rotor
system driven by a turbine engine simply feeding compressed
air to the blade tips to produce drive power. This resulted
in the Djinn, a light two-seat observation & casualty
evacuation helicopter powered by a Turbomeca Palouste
turbine engine and the only pressure jet helicopter to go
into large scale production. It was also the first French
helicopter to enter production, and the worlds first mass
produced jet engine powered helicopter. The Djinn in the
collection was built in 1959 and was retired from
operational flying at the end of 1968. In 1990 it was
refurbished to static display condition and was delivered on
22nd May 1991.
SA365N Dauphin, F-WQAP, C/N.6001.
Original development of the Dauphin began in 1960 and using
the "fenestron" tail which offered power and safety
advantages over the traditional tail rotor. Composite
materials were used in the airframe to reduce weight and
production costs. The aircraft in the Museum was donated by
the French manufacturer Eurocopter. The helicopter, the
first production SA365N, was modified by Eurocopter to test
a fly-by-wire flight control system, whereby the
conventional mechanical control system is replaced by
electrical signals transmitted through light-weight wiring
from the cockpit to the rotor system and control surfaces.
The aircraft was retired from flying in 2001 and delivered
to the Museum in April 2003, with delivery sponsored by
McAlpine Helicopters, based at Oxford, and the publishers of
HELICOPTER International magazine, Avia Press
SA321F Super Frelon, F-BTRP, C/N. 116.
In the mid 1950s Sud Est began designing a general purpose
transport helicopter for the French military, designated the
SE3200 Frelon and eventually developed into the SA321 Super
Frelon. The SA321F variant held by the Museum was designed
in the mid sixties as a commercial airliner version and was
built in 1967 as a 34-37 seat civil transport helicopter,
powered by three Turbomeca Turmo IIIC6 turboshaft engines.
The aircraft went on a summer lease during 1968-1969 to
Olympic Airways for operations between the Greek mainland
and the various islands, but this did not result in any
production orders and it was eventually withdrawn from
service. In 1991 it was partially restored by Aerospatiale
apprentices and donated to the Museum. Subsequently the
airframe was moved by road under sponsorship from Bristow
Helicopters, with the journey from the South of France to
the UK taking seven days. At the time it was the largest
helicopter ever to be moved by road within Europe.
Designed and built by Messerchmitt-Bölkow-Blohm in 1984 more
than 1500 Bo105s were built between 1970 and 1997.
Originally developed for civil use by police and air
ambulance operators the Bo105 went on to capture much of the
light attack helicopter market in Western Europe. The Bo105M
is a liaison and observation (VBH) helicopter and was
operated by the Heeresflieger (German Army Air Corps). One
hundred VBH versions were ordered with 81+00 the last to be
delivered in 1984, later withdrawn from service in 2002
after serving with the 25th Air Corps Regiment, based at
Laupheim. Most of the Heeresflieger's Bo105Ms were retired
between 2002 and 2005 with Eurocopter donating MBB Bo105M
81+00 to the Museum in 2007, arriving by road from
Donauworth, Germany on 4th May 2007.
EH101 G-EHIL/ZH647, C/N. 50003.
This the third prototype, (PP3), built in 1988 and used
extensively for the civil certification flight trial and
general development of the EH101 36 seat multi-purpose
helicopter. Built at the Westland factory in Yeovil it first
flew on 30th September 1988, powered by three 1920 shp
General Electric CT97-6A engines. On completion of its test
programme in February 1999 PP3 had completed 653 flying
hours over 581 flights and had helped to develop the AFCS
(Automatic Flight Control System) and ACSR anti-vibration
systems for the EH101 programme as well as undertaking icing
trials in Denmark. Utilised for spares the helicopter was
later delivered to the Museum at the end of 1999.
Helitrainer, D-HMQV, C/N. 6216.
Built in 1960 in Munich, Germany, as a tethered single-seat
helicopter pilot trainer and powered by a single ILO L3
3-cylinder 2-stroke piston engine. The Bo102 Helitrainer was
the first helicopter built by the revived West German
industry after the Second World War. The Bo102 held by the
Museum is one of approximately 18 built and was acquired
from the Hubschrauber Museum in Bückeburg, Germany, in 1981.
It was later delivered to Weston-super-Mare in a CH-53G of
the West German Army.