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The Rotary Nostalgia Thread

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  • #31

    Urrà !!

    At last .. the Maestro joins us.

    What can I say Denissimo .. but to offer you a very warm welcome to Aviafora !!

    Terrific to hear about 'BEEL' and 'BACH' and their associated stories!
    G-BACH .. hmm .. 'Air on the G Reg' perhaps!

    I am also interested to learn anything about Gordon King. I was certain he only had a 'plank' training school but .. it seems he delved into the blitterblats!

    Once again .. great to have you aboard!

    'The Menace' says ..


    • #32

      After noticing a couple of shots of G-AWLC I thought it would be interesting to share a photo G-AWAP showing a partly clad tail structure with Helicopter Hire titles parked up at Edinburgh Airport.

      Photo from my collection... not taken by me, so unsure of date, but must be pre 26.6.83 as AP sadly crashed at Gat Sand, The Wash in East Anglia on this date.

      Any other shots of Bell 47s or Alouette/Lamas with cladded tails welcome !


      • #33

        Bravo !!

        Welcome Elipix, great to have you aboard!

        (I can see, at this rate, I am going to have to go out and buy some more digital fireworks!).

        For those of you reading the Nostalgia Thread on Aviafora but who were not aware of the 'original' Nostalgia Thread .. Helipixman was a constant source of hard-to-find historical helicopter photos .. especially those which featured in my ramblings. I think the one I remain most grateful for was the image of Peter Cadbury's G-CHOC. I remember at one point that the beloved 'TRC' doubted that the Caburycopter was infact registered as G-CHOC but .. having seen this aircraft as a 'wee lad' I was absolutely certain she existed .. and with some help from 'Elipix' we got to see her!

        Regaring G-AWAP and your mentioning of June 1983 - this was a very sad day indeed. I was still in the UK at that time and I recall the Colonel calling Gill Aldam to offer his condolences. The Colonel was bitterly saddened by this tragedy having known John for many years and with John and the Colonel being good friends. Indeed, Helicopter Hire would end-up buying several ex-Ferranti aircraft including the Widgeon (G-APVD) which John bought directly from the Colonel.

        So, in remembering John and because Elipix has said ..

        Originally posted by Helipixman View Post
        Any other shots of Bell 47s or Alouette/Lamas with cladded tails welcome !

        .. I am going to re-post something which appeared on the old Nostalgia Thread:

        The late John Crewdson flying Agusta-Bell 47G G-ANZX at White Waltham on behalf of a Helicopter Services client in 1955 (Photo: Frank Hudson)

        Well okay, its not actually 'cladding' in the technical sense but, near enough!

        The late great John Crewdson at Gatwick Airport in 1956

        I do have an Alouette II which is extensively clad and which I shall post shortly.

        Also, check-out post #4 on the previous page which depicts a 1950's Bell 47 photographed by
        Frédéric Renaud and belonging to the French newspaper Sud-Ouest. This also had some 'cladding' on its tail used, as with G-AWAP, to advertise the company name.


        • #34
          Found this the other day, the US Army Aviation Digest Archive, some great reading.


          • #35
            Steve, thanks for that very interesting link. There is certainly a wealth of information there!

            An interesting tidbit of filmed nostalgia involving a Whirlwind from No. 22 Squadron RAF Coastal Command conducting a 'locate and winch' rescue demonstration in the English Channel in 1955. Unfortunately, the Whirlwind becomes the subject of the spectacle by deciding that it too should be in need of rescue!

            Ah .. British Pathé! They don't make them like that anymore with the 'higher-toned' English accent and orchestral accompaniment to the voice-over!

            In fact, one no longer hears Brits speaking like that (normally) and even American accents have changed over the past century.


            • #36
              Having showcased a photo of John Crewdson wearing his scarf (further above) .. is seems only 'proper' that I should do the same for Peter Wilson who was a family friend as well as colleague to my late godfather:

              The late great Peter Wilson as seen at Dunsborough House in Ripley, Surrey, in 1958 attending a rotary garden party hosted by Charles Hughesdon

              Ah .. scarf-wearing helicopter pilots. Those were the days!

              On the day of the above photo, Peter was flying the Bristol Aeroplane Company's Type 173 below:

              The Bristol Type 173 G-ALBN as seen on final approach to Dunsborough House in Ripley in 1958

              Abaft the 173's starboard hindquarter were two Bristol Sycamores the nearest of which was G-AMWG the other being an RAF craft.


              • #37
                Elipix, this image appeared on the first Nostalgia Thread but .. it's a pretty good example of a covered tailboom:

                Fabick Aircraft Co. Bell 47-D NC194B in Alberta, Canada in 1949 (Photo: Helicopter Heritage of Canada)

                This 47 made its way up from Lambert Field, St. Louis, Missouri in 1949 to assist in a gravity meter survey in Chard, north of Lac La Biche in Alberta, Canada. The United Geophysical Company were searching for suitable areas in which to perform wildcat well drilling operations and were able to complete the survey without any major road construction thanks to this aircraft and one other 47.


                • #38

                  This Alouette II (F-WIEA) was fitted with a solid tailboom and flew as a Sud Aviation prototype but never went into production.


                  • #39
                    Another Bell to add to the collection ..

                    British European Airways Bell 47B-3 G-AKFB as seen at the Royal Aeronautical Society's Garden Party at White Waltham on 15th June 1952 (Photo: Courtesy of the Tony Clarke Collection via David Whitworth)

                    This aircraft was named 'Sir Balan'.


                    • #40
                      Identity Parade!

                      Westland Wessex flying over an Amoco gas rig in the North Sea in 1970

                      It would be great to discover who this driver is. I'm assuming this is a Bristow Wessex because, as far as I know, British Airways only operated the S-58 the first of which (I think) arrived in 1973-4.

                      So .. a Bristow Wessex driver from 1970!


                      • #41
                        While we are considering the identity of Wessex drivers, I should be glad to discover who flew the Wessex (presumably QF) which accommodated the late Princess Diana in the left seat on a flight from Highgrove in 1986!

                        The late Princess Diana aboard a Wessex at Highgrove House in 1986

                        Diana flew from Highgrove in the left seat of the Wessie, with what 'appears' to be a driver wearing civvie uniform

                        ........Diana, Princess of Wales
                        1st July 1961 - 31st August 1997



                        • #42

                          British Airways Sikorsky S-58ET G-BCLN as seen at Beccles Heliport on 4th August 1979 (Photo: Avia Déjà Vu)


                          • #43

                            BEA S-61N MkII G-AYOM as seen at Aberdeen's Dyce Airport in April 1974 (Photo: Richard Vandervord)

                            Formerly N94565, JA9506 and N4585 prior to her delivery to BEA in December 1970. From BEA (and later BA) she went to British Caledonian, British International and then Bond Aviation in 1998. Later that year she was sold to CHC and was supplied by them on a SAR contract flying for the Irish Coastguard as EI-SAR.

                            On 17th January 2006 the craft was involved in a routine winch training exercise with the Conningbeg Lightship when the hoist cable snagged, then sheared and finally recoiled under load back towards the helicopter where it impacted the main rotor and the cockpit canopy. The craft was however able to fly back to Waterford Airport without further incident - a testimony to the resilience of the 61!

                            The word is that the mechanics/engineers at Aberdeen referred to this craft as 'Add Your Own Milk'.

                            BEA pilot's cap badge


                            • Hoveratsix
                              Hoveratsix commented
                              Editing a comment
                              I think this photograph is pre-1974 as I believe all S61Ns had radomes fitted by then. BEAH became BAH in March 1974. Another one in my logbook from 1977!

                          • #44
                            More Milk!

                            If the Sikorsky G-AYOM (see above) was known as 'Add Your Own Milk' then the craft below must surely be .. 'Bring Your Own Milk'! 😆

                            S-76C+ G-BYOM formerly owned by Starspeed
                            (Photo by Ned Dawson)

                            G-BYOM was of course used for several years as a support craft to the Queen's Helicopter Flight although owned and operated by Starspeed.

                            And as seen at Anglesey in 2012 when C&C visited William at RAF Valley


                            • #45

                              AS365N Dauphin G-TRAF belonging to Trafalgar House Group lands at Farnborough in September 1988 (Photo: Mick Bajcar)

                              Trafalgar House were the owners of companies such as the Cunard Line and Heavylift Cargo Airlines and were additionally engaged in a diversity of investments in property, construction and engineering.

                              Also in the shot are what appear to be the tails of a Bond Puma and an American registered Bristow 412.


                              • Industry insider
                                Industry insider commented
                                Editing a comment
                                The US registered 412 SP was later registered G-SPBA and was trialled for Amoco and Conoco out of North Denes. But no takers and it was moved on.

                            • #46

                              Canadian Coast Guard SA316B Alouette III C-FCAZ as seen at Vancouver International Airport in July 1980 (Photo: Gary Vincent)

                              After being decommissioned, this aircraft was donated to the Calgary Aerospace Museum.

                              My thanks to Gary Vincent for his permission to post this image and for his support in providing some fantastic helicopter photos over the years!


                              • #47

                                Bristow Helicopters AS332L Super Puma (aka Bristow Tiger) G-TIGP as seen at Aberdeen's Dyce Airport on 20th September 1983 (Photo: John Boardley courtesy of Ray Barber)

                                Seen here on contract to BP.


                                • Industry insider
                                  Industry insider commented
                                  Editing a comment
                                  I delivered this aircraft from the factory in summer of 83 (SN 2064) It ended up in Australia and was scrapped in 2014.

                              • #48
                                Sad news.

                                The Telegraph reports the sad death of Mr Charles Hughesdon 2 days ago.

                                Mr Hughesdon was 104 years old and started flying in 1930. In his long career in aviation and aviation insurance he traveled the world and became an experienced helicopter pilot, first owning a Hiller UH-12 in the mid 1960's followed by several Bell JetRangers.

                                The late Charles Hughesdon

                                His Helicopter Garden Partiess became a fixture for many years (see posts above). He is survived by his wife Carol Elizabeth and his son Michael from his first marriage. RIP

                                This link is for the Telegraphs Obituary to Mr Hughesdon and also coincidentally features a short audio feature about Bristol test Pilot Lt Sox Hosegood.

                                Telegraph obituary: Charles Hughesdon was an amorous aviator who married a film star and crashed in the African bush during a 1930s air race.


                                • #49
                                  Shane, thank you for this news. Will add this to our obituaries page.

                                  Sad indeed, although at 104 I think one can say that he had a good innings!

                                  RIP Charles.


                                  • #50

                                    Heliavia's AS350B Ecureuil CS-HAY as seen at Faro International Airport in Portugal in 1990 (Photo: Pedro Aragão)

                                    Oh, one tidbit .. this aircraft won first place in the 'European Individual Helicopter Colour Scheme of the Year' competition in 1990.

                                    (I am of course completely joking, for I have never seen such a horrid colour scheme!)


                                    • #51
                                      More Classic Ecureuil ..

                                      Valley of Gleneagles Helicopters AS350B G-BGCV as seen at Glasgow International Airport in c. 1979 (Photo: Ian Oswald courtesy of Martin Stephen)

                                      One of the first Ecureuils in the UK and which ended-up being exported to New Zealand in 1985. The very first was Tommy Sopwith's G-GINA delivered in March 1978.


                                      • #52

                                        Igor Sikorsky with Orville Wright and Frank Gregory in front of an XR-4 at Wright Field, Ohio, in 1942

                                        The late great Igor Ivanovich Sikorsky in the H-5 c.1945


                                        • #53
                                          More R-4 ..

                                          The R-4 was the first helicopter recorded in my godfather's logbook.

                                          The driver of a Church Army mobile canteen hands over a cup of tea to a Sikorsky R-4 crew member at RAF Andover in 1945 (Photo: NA Archives)


                                          • #54

                                            Some will recall previous discussion 'elsewhere' regarding Major Michael Somerton-Rayner, a friend to my late godfather, who operated a heli-barge (which he named 'Barge William') along the Thames in the early 80's. The barge was situated not far from Blackfriars Bridge:

                                            Two 'Rayner Rangers' G-BAML and G-BAZN (the latter wearing DHL livery and being loaded for departure) upon Barge William in 1982

                                            In our discussions I pointed-out that Mike (to whom my godfather gave the nickname 'Summertime Reindeer') had a penchant for converted 'A' model 206's.

                                            So, imagine my surprise (and delight) when I recently discovered that Canadian-based photographer Pierre Gillard added a photo of G-BAML to his album!

                                            G-BAML and a 'surprise' Rayner Ranger on Barge William on 6th September 1983 (Photo: Pierre Gillard)

                                            Well, not only was I elated by this 'new' image of some 80's Rayner Rangers but (and as you can see) there is a very interesting 'mystery Ranger' sitting alongside BAML!

                                            At first glace .. you guessed it .. she appears to be none other than G-TALY but .. cast your eye over her air intake and you'll see that 'Summertime' has maintained his passion for converted A's!

                                            The craft is in fact none other than G-BUZZ which began life with Western Air in Scotland and was the subject of some nostalgic discussion we had at another time in another place when we cited her appearance in the movie 'Death Watch'.

                                            At the time of Pierre's photo BUZZ was registered to 'Adifer Ltd' of Macauley Road in London but, in his photo notes, Pierre has the craft listed under 'Bristol West Helicopters' - an organisation I should like to learn some more about.

                                            In the late 80's BUZZ would wear the Virgin livery while operating from Booker and on 29th June 1998 was involved in a 'blade-connecting' incident with another 206 G-BLZN where the latter landed a little too close to BUZZ.

                                            Pierre has said that at some point he will scan his photo of BUZZ and which should reveal the extent of her colour scheme. I was aware of one additional 206 in the UK with a similar scheme to TALY's and also one in Holland so, this will be interesting to see.

                                            Our thanks to Pierre for the above photo.


                                            • #55
                                              Tally Ho!

                                              Not G-TALY .. but her sister (in spirit) G-BUZZ .. as mentioned above.

                                              Agusta-Bell 206B G-BUZZ on Michael Somerton-Rayner's 'Barge William' on 6th September 1983 (Photo: Pierre Gillard)

                                              Originally delivered to Austria in 1969, G-BUZZ was purchased by Western Air of Glasgow in 1978 having been imported from France where she had previously flown as F-GAMS. Seen here in 1983 and apparently operating with 'Bristol West Helicopters' who (presumably) had leased her to 'Summertime'.

                                              Seen here posing as G-TALY on Summertime Reindeer's Thames barge.

                                              The only noticeable difference to TALY's scheme is the red piping within the rear portion of blue on the main fuselage.

                                              Again, our great thanks to Pierre Gillard!


                                              • #56
                                                Ah .... memories of my old friend, G-BUZZ. I owned her in the period around 1993 ish to 1996 during which time I operated her on my Starline Helicopters AOC at Redhill. Out of interest, I'm sure many of you will have seen the film work of Arena Aviation. Michael Portillo's Bradshaw train journeys etc, and many others.

                                                Around 1994, a certain Richard Yeowart approached me for Jetranger hire and had decided he didn't want to follow in his father's national business of Steel Stockholders and instead wanted to fly. I taught him on G-BUZZ and as he completed the course he purchased her for his new business. By then I had sold the business to a Welsh gentleman and moved on by returning to Shoreham Airport ... where I began my rotary flying! Richard either hired her out to my old business of Skyline Helicopters at Wycombe (Booker) or perhaps sold her on. And yes, how well I remember advising the new owners at WAP that the second helipad they had laid out adjacent to the original building was a tad too close for comfort. Dear Buzz promptly proved the point later by touching blades with G-BZLN! The Virgin suits immediately ordered the Virgin Logos on the two wrecks to be covered up and the sale of the whole business.

                                                In those days I must have had a preference for the ZZ registrations as I also operated G-SHZZ and G-BZZZ. I seem to recall having a similar problem when I registered my Wycombe Air Park fleet as G-A, B. etc and SKY.

                                                Please can I tell another small story. In the original 'Nostalgia' thread ... (another place - another time!) Savoia regaled us with pictures and stories of my batting prowess for the village cricket team of Ripley in Surrey. The Hon CS Hughesdon (RIP God bless him) used to hold his annual helicopter party just over the wall from the village green at Dunsborough Park to the detriment of my batting concentration. Just a couple of weeks ago, I found my flying at nearby Shere cancelled so I drove up to the period cottage that serves as the clubhouse for the Ripley team ... just to see the place where I last played forty years earlier. I parked the Jag in the same old spot and walked up to the cricket square to reminisce. I recall my very last score there ... 54 not out as I walked back to the clubhouse cottage.

                                                PS. I plan to go back to see if they still hold the score books for those days ... please make allowances for we COFs.

                                                Safe flying to all!

                                                Dennis K.


                                                • #57
                                                  Ah Denissimo .. I think you must have been involved in almost every craft that has ever cropped-up in our nostalgic reminiscences! And quite right too as a veteran connoisseur of the skies!

                                                  Originally posted by Dennis Kenyon View Post
                                                  And yes, how well I remember advising the new owners at WAP that the second helipad they had laid out adjacent to the original building was a tad too close for comfort.
                                                  Quite so, I seem to recall it was possible land within a few feet of the sliding doors .. and which was most convenient!

                                                  Originally posted by Dennis Kenyon View Post
                                                  Savoia regaled us with pictures and stories of my batting prowess for the village cricket team of Ripley in Surrey.
                                                  Ah yes!

                                                  Great to hear that you went back to visit the club!


                                                  • #58
                                                    The Mil which never flew!

                                                    Originally designated as the Mi-2, the Mi-20 was a prototype designed by Mikhail Mil with the intention of replacing the Mi-1.

                                                    The initial powerplant considered for the Mi-20 was the Russian GTD-350, an engine which was evidently both under-powered and troublesome. With a lack of small turbines available domestically and with seemingly improved Soviet-French relations, the Mil factory entered negotiations with Turbomeca during which the Oredon III was identified as potentially 'suitable' for the Mi-20. Later the Astazou XII was 'assigned' to this project.

                                                    However, relations between the West and the Soviet Union deteriorated in the early 70's and Turbomeca were no longer permitted to meet Mil's requirement and which sanction precipitated the shelving of the project.

                                                    Commentators believe that Mil's 'dash 20' project was a Soviet response to Western light helicopter developments at the time and which included aircraft such as the Bell 206, Hiller 1100 and Hughes 500. Indeed there were plans drawn-up by Mil for a more futuristic 'sleeker styled' Mi-20 which, on paper, looked like a cross between the Brantly 305 and the FH-1100!

                                                    The Mi-20 mock-up in Moscow in 1966


                                                    • #59
                                                      Nostalgia from France!

                                                      Citroën made the hydro-pneumatic suspension famous, they designed icons such as the Traction Avant and the Citroën DS and innovated 'swiveling' headlights! But did you know that in the 70's they built a helicopter?

                                                      At about the same time that Frank Robinson was doodling on the back of paper napkins .. and some thirty years before the first flight of Bruno Guimbal's Cabri .. Citroën had their own designs on small helicopter production.

                                                      It was called the RE-2 and was powered by a Wankel engine, producing between 170 and 190 hp, depending on fuel and setup. The engine was the same as in the GS Birotor car introduced in 1973, an ill-fated but innovative project with only 850 units sold. However, the helicopter used larger rotors and a fuel injection system.

                                                      The Citroën​ RE-2

                                                      Weighing 700 kilograms (1543 lbs) when empty, it could reach speeds of 205 km/h (127 mph) and had a range of 430 km (267 miles).

                                                      The idea of the RE-2 was to compete with the American-made Bell 47, which was widely used in France. Citroën wanted to diversify its business and manufacture something that would be used as a marketing tool as well.

                                                      Work began in 1973 and only two years later, the first prototype was airborne. After many months of development, the RE-2 obtained a temporary flight permit from the French government. Eventually, Citroën stopped rotary engine development and with 38 test flight our, their helicopter project was also scrapped. The machine made its last flight in May 1979, after which it was sent for display to the Citroën museum.


                                                      • #60
                                                        And the rotary-wing-Citroën connection doesn't end there ..

                                                        In 1957 the Royal Navy was preparing to send two aircraft carriers, HMS Bulwark and HMS Albion, to take a detachment of Royal Marines to deal with the rebels in the Malaysian jungle. Ground transport was needed and the vehicles had to be sufficiently robust and reliable to cope with jungle tracks and worse and had to be light enough to be taken ashore by helicopter from the aircraft carriers.

                                                        An admiral on HMS Bulwark had seen a 2CV pick-up at a Citroën dealer near Portsmouth, borrowed it to take it on board for his next voyage, put it through many tests and returned it to the dealer. The Royal Marines Commanding Officer on board HMS Bulwark was so impressed that he ordered four more.

                                                        The first helicopter lift tests involving the 2CV pick-up were made on-shore in the UK by the helicopter company Westland Aircraft of Yeovil sometime in 1957 using a standard civilian version of the pick-up bearing the registration number 33CPP. This vehicle was then taken aboard HMS Bulwark on the aircraft carrier’s second commission (voyage) during 1957 and 1958 for sea tests in the West Indies and the Indian Ocean with the Westland Whirlwind helicopters of 845 squadron RNAS.

                                                        The tests were judged a success and as a result HMS Bulwark was converted from a fixed-wing aircraft carrier to the Navy’s first helicopter commando carrier and equipped with a batch of pick-ups ordered from Citroën Cars Ltd in early 1959, to serve as motor transport with the 42nd Commando regiment of the Royal Marines.

                                                        A Royal Navy Whirlwind lifting a modified Citroën CV aboard HMS Albion c. late 1959

                                                        A Royal Navy Wessex on the 2CV lifting assignment

                                                        Who knows, perhaps even Baston was involved!