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The Rotary Nostalgia Thread

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  • The Rotary Nostalgia Thread

    As I was saying ..

    South Western Electricity Board Agusta-Bell 206A JetRanger G-AVYX as seen at Blackbushe Aerodrome on 14th September 1970 (Photo: Ad Vercruijse)

    This 206 I affectionately refer to as 'Black Sox' because of her black 'feet or socks' (skids) which actually remind me of a Suffolk sheep and in tribute to Charles 'Sox' Hosegood who pioneered SWEB's helicopter unit. SWEB's last 206 was in fact named 'Spirit of Sox'.

    Sox Hosegood was a test pilot with the Bristol Aeroplane Company together with my godfather. The two remained good friends over many years.

    G-AVYX was the 12th JetRanger delivered to the UK from Agusta and was purchased from new by SWEB. She was officially registered with the CAA on 28th November 1967.

    The Suffolk sheep which remind me of G-AVYX

  • #2
    Another shot of 'Black Sox' taken two years after the above photo:

    SWEB Agusta-Bell 206A G-AVYX at Plymouth's Roborough Airport on 20th April 1972 (Photo: Stephen Rendle)

    Memorial Edit (18th February 2014)

    12 days after this post was submitted, Charles 'Sox' Hosegood passed away.

    I therefore wish to take this opportunity to dedicate this post to his memory.

    While I have nicknamed SWEB's first JetRanger 'Black Sox' (for the reasons mentioned above) it should be noted that SWEB's last JetRanger was in fact named 'Spirit of Sox'.

    Charles and my godfather worked together at the Bristol Aeroplane Company, later to become Westland Helicopters, for several years and flew together many times in Sycamores, Belvederes and numerous other types.

    You may read Charles' obituary here.


    Charles T.D. 'Sox' Hosegood
    4th January 1921 - 17th February 2014



    • #3
      Now. . . . . . Where were we ?


      • Nomorehelosforme
        Nomorehelosforme commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes it appears normal service has resumed after the fiasco at Christmas! Wonder how long before we start seeing some of the old faces on here?

    • #4

      Sud-Ouest Bell 47G-2 F-BGOF (cn 1319) departing Royan beach in France in August 1959 (Photo: Frédéric Renaud)

      This image may cause a small quandary; for the sight of an American Bell 47 bearing the name 'Sud-Ouest' seems, initially, incongruous!

      That is until one discovers that this was not the left over of an attempt at 'reverse-engineering' by Sud-Ouest (as in the Société nationale des constructions aéronautiques du sud-ouest) in their development of the Alouette II (before they became Sud Aviation) but in fact a Bell 47 owned by the French newspaper Sud-Ouest!

      Seen here departing the beach at Royan which is about 40 miles North-northwest of Bordeaux (where the newspaper was based) and about 20 miles West of Cognac!


      • #5
        More SWEB and more Bell ..

        SWEB Agusta-Bell 47J-2 G-ASLR at Plymouth's Roborough Airport on 25th January 1970 (Photo: Stephen Rendle)

        Another one of Sox's ships .. this one the first for the SWEB helicopter unit.

        Purchased by SWEB from Agusta in 1963 and sold to Twyford Moors Helicopters in 1972.

        Of the delivery flight:

        A fascinating tale is told of how the Agusta Bell was brought back from Milan to Bristol.

        Surprisingly the Chairman, Bill Irens, chose to go with Sox Hosegood to take delivery of the helicopter in early October and to fly back as far as Gatwick taking 3 days.

        Mr. Irens said "it was the most exciting experience of his life" and related how they flew at little more than 150ft, following the coast line of the Italian and French Rivieras and then across France, stopping en route, not always where planned, for sleep and sustenance. The weather was warm and sunny and he was surprised how many people relaxed naked on roof gardens!
        From Peter Lamb's "A 35 Year History of the SWEB Helicopter Unit"


        • #6
          More Suffolk sheep ..

          'Black Sox' (see G-AVYX above) was not the only UK 206 of the 'Suffolk sheep' variety ..

          Bristow Agusta-Bell 206A JetRanger G-AVIG as seen at Redhill in the late 1960's (Photo: Courtesy of 'Oldlae', photographer unknown)

          As can be seen, she also had black 'feet'!

          G-AVIG was the UK's first JetRanger, delivered in March 1967 and the fourth 206 off Agusta's production line being Construction No. 8004.

          Sadly, she perished in a CFIT accident in Antarctica on 5th January 1985.


          • #7
            While looking at 'First Rangers' we should include G-AVIG's sister-ship, construction no. 8003, SE-HBI:

            Ostermans Aero Agusta-Bell 206A JetRanger SE-HBI as seen at Malmen Airport in Linköping on 23rd September 1967 (Photo: Lars Lundin)

            SE-HBI was the third 206 off Agusta's production line and the first JetRanger delivered to Sweden.

            The word is that this aircraft is still flying, in Australia, as VH-BCX!


            • #8

              Greenlandair's S-61N OY-HAF as seen at the Jacobshavn-Illulissat (Icefjord) Airport in Greenland in June 1992 (Photo: Erik Gjoerup Kristensen)

              Great to see this aircraft at work and with our thanks to Erik Kristensen for this wonderful photo.


              • #9

                British European Airways Sikorsky S-61N G-AZCF approaches the heliport at Penzance in September 1972 (Photo: GV Halliday)

                Commissioned into service with BEA in July 1971 "Charlie Fox" went on to fly from London Gatwick to Brunei on 8th June 1981 .. a journey which took 85 hours over 16 days accomplished in 25 sectors and arriving at Anduki Airport in Brunei on 24th June 1981. While in Brunei she served on contract with Shell.

                In the new millennium she evidently found herself Stateside initially tasked with Pacific Helicopters of Hawaii and then with Erickson Aircrane. Word is she last flew offshore in Brasil.

                Our thanks to Mr GV Halliday for this wonderful photo!


                • #10
                  Another take of the venerable G-AZCF at Penzance ..

                  British European Airways Sikorsky S-61N G-AZCF landing at Penzance Heliport in September 1972 (Photo: GV Halliday)

                  By the look of the extended left arm in this and the previous photo .. one has to assume that the 'co-jo' was driving!


                  • #11
                    Maybe he was taking a 'selfie' with a Polaroid !!


                    • #12
                      LOL! Oh dear .. the thought of it !!

                      More BEA Nostalgia ..

                      BEA S-61N G-ASNL (aka Arsenal) at Penzance Heliport c. 1960's (Photo: E. Ludwig)

                      ps: I think his hand is actually stuck there!


                      • #13

                        British Airways S-76A (This is a Vera Lynn Photograph but almost certainly c.1980)


                        • Hoveratsix
                          Hoveratsix commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Captain John Millward, I believe.

                        • Savoia
                          Savoia commented
                          Editing a comment
                          HAS many thanks. Yes, it seems to be John, also confirmed by William Ashpole on page 3.

                      • #14

                        Tommy Sopwith's Bell 206B JetRanger II G-BASE as seen at Cranfield on 2nd September 1977 (Photo: Peter Nicholson)

                        We've seen BASE before of course (from Tommy's 'Endeavour Aviation' stables) but a couple of 'new' (and sadly not so clear) images of G-BASE in her 1970's livery:

                        G-BASE featuring in Season One Episode 10 of the New Avengers 'Sleeper', filmed in 1976

                        G-BASE landing at Battersea in 1976 during filming for the 'New Avengers' TV series

                        The Avengers used Manfred Mann (Alan Mann) for most of their aerial work so I'm guessing that Mann's cross-chartered from Endeavour - either to plug a gap in their own availability of aircraft or because the series producers needed an aircraft in different colours to those already featured from Mann's stable.


                        • Industry insider
                          Industry insider commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Tommy lost his finger on G-BASE

                      • #15
                        Only landed at Battersea once (2004) and it didn't look like that picture!


                        • #16
                          Originally posted by Nomorehelosforme View Post
                          Only landed at Battersea once (2004) and it didn't look like that picture!
                          Ah yes well, things do change!

                          Those blue and yellow panel buildings are pretty much how I remember it though. I guess between 1975 and 1984 I flew into Battersea around six times a year and it always looked pretty much the same. I think in the early 80's (when Noel Edmonds set-up shop for a bit) they tried re-vamping the buildings but the layout remained essentially unchanged.

                          Today it looks something like this:

                          The 'new' Battersea

                          The 'new' Battersea seems to have only two or three spots!

                          (It gives me a certain amount of pleasure to see that, as hard as they've tried to scrub it off, the word 'Westland' is still just visible above 'London').

                          I'll have to trawl my archives but I'm sure I have a shot of six or seven aircraft parked at Battersea from the late 70's and I am certain that during that time there were at least seven spots.

                          Westland's SA341 Gazelle G-BCHM and Michael Somerton-Rayner's Bell 206 G-BAZN as seen at Battersea on 10th April 1985 (Photo: John Oram)

                          Here, from 1985, you can see five spots - there were another two in front. The numbering system went in a sort of clockwise pattern from the upper left corner (as you approached the port) and is why the spot beneath the Gaz is marked number 7.

                          Sometimes, when it got super busy, they would park craft at either end of the FATO so that you would arrive and depart between them and which was always great fun!


                          • #17

                            Agusta-Bell 206A JetRanger G-AZAG at Battersea Heliport in 1977 (Photo: Anton Heumann)

                            Lord Dulverton's (he of Imperial Tobaccos) JetRanger (owned by 'Cadogan Foamwork and Reinforcing' at the time of this photo) parked on the pier (now FATO) at Battersea in '77.

                            Aircraft were often parked at either (or both) end/s of the pier in order to free-up the normal parking spaces.


                            • #18
                              Savoia, It's actually Formwork, not Foamwork. Formwork is a term for setting out kerb logging prior to building a road. Sorry to be pedantic Tarman


                              • #19
                                Formwork it is then! Actually such details are tremendously important!

                                More from Battersea ..

                                Enstrom 280C Shark G-BEEL at Battersea in 1977 (Photo: Anton Heumann)

                                At the time of this photo G-BEEL was owned by Slea Aviation of Sleaford in Lincolnshire. Prior to this she belonged to Tyrrell Contractors of Welbourn also of Lincolnshire who bought her from Spooner Aviation in 1976.

                                So, I'm sure that somewhere along the way Denissimo must have been involved!

                                G-BEEL of course wearing the same colours as G-BENO .. the 280 the Maestro was flying when I first encountered him at Biggin Hill.


                                • #20

                                  Agusta-Bell 206B JetRanger III G-BIZB as seen at Bournemouth (Hurn) Airport on 1st June 1986 (Photo: Trevor Bartlett)

                                  Seen here attending the TVS Airshow at Hurn in 1986 and wearing Renault titles, doubtless as part of some advertising/promotion campaign.

                                  Imported by Mann's in 1981 the aircraft was bought the following year by Martin Butler Associates of Hertfordshire who owned the craft until 1989 when she was involved in a tragic filming accident in Corfu, Greece.


                                  • #21
                                    More Suffolk sheep ..

                                    And just in case you thought that 'Suffolk sheep Rangers' were only seen in Britain during the 60's and 70's ..

                                    Blades Aviation Bell 206B JetRanger II G-ISPH as seen at Manchester's Barton Aerodrome on 26th March 2009 (Photo: Michael)

                                    This more recent example illustrating that the breed, though rare, can still be seen!


                                    • #22

                                      BEA S-61N Mk II G-BBUD as seen at Penzance Heliport c.1974

                                      This craft is now flying in the US as N905CH.


                                      • #23

                                        Something a little different!


                                        • #24
                                          Buongiorno Shane! Welcome aboard.

                                          Ah yes, the venerable Alouette II .. in this case G-AWLC an SA318C belonging to Heli-Union (UK) from 1968-72.

                                          Another shot here:

                                          Heli-Union (UK) Sud Aviation SA318C Alouette II Astazou G-AWLC as seen in the UK c. 1970 (Photo: courtesy of Pierre Gillard)


                                          • #25

                                            Doman Helicopters was founded in 1945​, commencing​ operations from a cow pasture in Stratford, Connecticut​ where​ Glidden Doman and a handful of engineers ​set about solving ​some of the structural and dynamic problems ​(​including blade failures​), which were plaguing ​some ​helicopters at that time​.​

                                            Based primarily in Danbury, Connecticut, the company also ​established facilities in Pennsylvania and in Puerto Rico. It's ​best known product was the ​Doman ​LZ-5 (also known as the YH-31 and the D-10​) which was ​certified by the ​FAA in 1955​. The first prototype (registration N13458) flew on 27 April 1953, and by the end of 1955, two machines had been delivered to the Army (52-5779 and 52-5780).

                                            ​The LZ-5 utilised designer Glidden Doman's unorthodox gimbaled rotor system, which featured the elimination of rotor hinges and dampers and included blades of soft-in-plane dynamic design. The servo control system was entirely contained within the rotor head, with no external oil tanks or plumbing. The tail rotor was also hingeless and free floating to eliminate stresses in rapid tail rotor turns. In other ways it had a conventional helicopter main rotor and tail rotor configuration. The pilot and co-pilot were seated over the engine (which was in the nose) and a six-passenger compartment was located behind them. The engine was cooled by exhaust ejectors, producing an energy saving that increased payload by 800 pounds.

                                            A Doman LZ-5 c. 1953 (Photo: Courtesy of New England Air Museum)

                                            "And if you look there you will notice a tubular spar which is used to connect the blade to the hub. Now while Mr Doman did not specifically design this for the purpose I am about to describe, what he has found .. while using the helicopter for camping expeditions with his wife, is that this is an ideal area on which to hang one's washing!"


                                            • #26
                                              Following on from Shane's Alouette ..

                                              Alouette II at Bickley Manor in Bromley, South London c. 1960's

                                              There is a possibility that this may be G-AWLC but .. there is also a chance that it is Air Gregory's G-AVEE (formerly F-BNKZ). Either way, it would most likely place the photo in the late 60's with Heli-Union (UK) taking delivery of G-AWLC in 1968 (as mentioned above) and RBA Helicopters of Reading, Berkshire taking delivery of F-BNKZ in early 1966.


                                              • md600driver
                                                md600driver commented
                                                Editing a comment
                                                can't be awlc as this is a 313 not a 318

                                              • Savoia
                                                Savoia commented
                                                Editing a comment
                                                Okay, grazie.

                                            • #27

                                              Enstrom F-28A G-BACH (sn: 094) as seen at Shoreham Airfield in April 1975

                                              Delivered to Spooner Aviation in August of 1972 this craft was soon sold to Spear & King of Camberley in Surrey (who may have been a building company) and then on to the aviation division of Parker and Heard (and of whom I have never heard) of Hampton Hill in Middlesex.

                                              In 1978 she was sold to 'Dargon' or Dargen in Awbridge, Romsey .. then to George Suttie, John Woodhouse and 'Finload Ltd' before being bought by Gordon King at Biggin Hill in 1984 (I thought he only offered plank lessons!).

                                              No doubt more details surrounding this craft .. and for which we patiently await the arrival of the Maestro!


                                              • #28
                                                OK Sav ... I've finally managed to penetrate the AF hurdles to join this esteemed group. Hope I can add a fluff or two of interesting titbits from time to time.

                                                But I start with an admonishment .... The pretty turbo-charged 280C Enstrom Shark, registered as G-BEEL and being a newly imported ship, was the helicopter I exhibited on our 1976 Farnborough stand ... and if I only knew how to post a picture, I could show a young Kenyon handing over the keys to its FIRST buyer, Mr Reg Brealey. If the CAA registration records say differently - they are wrong! I've told the story elsewhere, but Mr Brealey was wearing a black & red striped tie at the handing over ceremoney. One of the many aviation reporters invited commented that he had purchased an appropriately coloured tie to match his new helicopter. "No" replied Brealey, "I purchased the Enstrom in those colours to match my tie!!" Quite true, since Brealey was a Director of Lincoln City football club whose house colours were of course: Red, black and white. For sales specification purposes, the G-BEEL colour scheme was known as SPS 1. I ordered two other Enstrom Sharks in the those colours being G-BEEK and G-BENO (G-BENO being our sales demonstrator and display helicopter for 1976 thru 1978.)

                                                Turning to G-BACH, I'm surprised Savoia didn't have a good knick-name for her. We called her JS for some reason I forget! She was sold much earlier about 1972 or so being about a 098 serial number. The buyer was Mr Bill Spear, a builder from Surrey. Later, he was sadly killed in a Morris Mini road accident in the days before proper interior crash protection was available.

                                                Just a few more titbits ref the above. George Suttie wasn't a George. In fact he was no less than Sir Phillip Grant-Suttie from just east of Edinburgh where I landed in his Enstrom many times. John Woodhouse was also a DRK customer, and in fact in later years I flew for him at his Sandown, Isle of Wight helicopter school. A super guy and I wonder what he is up to these days!

                                                So thanks for having me on Aviafora site. Being an ex Anorak, I hope I can be useful from time to time.


                                                • #29
                                                  Oh and I forgot to add ... in later years G-BACH was painted to the scheme shown above (originally all white) and purchased by my dear mate, the amiable Mike Woodley. Mike is the guy who apart from holding professional licences for helicopters and fixed wing is the consultant frequently used for the major Bond feature films. He also owns the B747 blue tailed Jumbo that sits at Dunsfold aerodrome and is routinely seen in the background as the ever effervescent Jeremy Clarkson and the Stig racer blast various cars around the test track.


                                                  • #30
                                                    And a second Oh ... cos I can't resist it and this is rotary nostalgia ... I'm pretty sure the fairish-haired guy walking toward the Enstrom G-BEELat Battersea, (left of picture) was Mark Langford who was a good sales guy for Alan Mann in those days. Anyone agree? Dennis K.