No announcement yet.

The Rotary Nostalgia Thread

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #91
    More Whirling Winds .. and the case of the flying bench!

    In March 1970, 22 Squadron (who were based at RAF Chivenor) presented a seat to the people of Braunton (a village 5 miles west of Barnstaple in North Devon). The bench was presented "In recognition of the kindness shown by the people of Braunton towards the airmen of RAF Chivenor".

    The RAF delivered the 'bench of gratitude' to Braunton Beacon courtesy of a 22 Squadron Whirlwind.

    An RAF Whirlwind from 22 Squadron RAF Chivenor delivers a token of appreciation to Braunton Beacon in March 1970

    "My lords, ladies and gentlemen (and people of Braunton); I stand atop this here bench of to verily proclaim that No. 22 Squadron are truly kings of the castle and every other squadron something of dirty rascals!"

    (You may need to have attended school in England to appreciate the above remark so .. my apologies to our non-British readers).

    Brauntinians gather at the 'lowering of the bench ceremony' on Braunton Beacon in March 1970! The lady in the rear right of the photograph (wearing a headscarf) is Monica Huxtable and the boy in the foreground (looking at the camera and wearing a patterned jumper) is Graham Norman


    • #92

      Royal Navy Westland Whirlwind HAR1 aboard HMS Protector in the Bransfield Strait in 1959. Here seen sporting some 'Penguin Patrol' nose art (Photo: Jeffrey Stokes)

      (The Bransfield Strait is a body of water about 100 kilometres wide extending for 300 miles in a general north-east - south-west direction between the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula).

      The Westland Whirlwind was the first naval helicopter to fly over South Georgia and was assigned to the Antarctic Patrol Ship HMS Protector in 1955. The ship carried two Whirlwinds which were specifically allocated from the Fleet Air Arm’s main inventory of aircraft for Antarctic duties. The aircraft carried out a range of survey and support tasks and on several occasions were involved in the rescue of explorers and scientists who had been stranded on the southern Atlantic icefields.

      In 2009 the Fly Navy Heritage Trust hosted the launch of a series of 'Fly Navy' postage stamps commemorating aviation in South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands. The event took place at HMS President in London and additionally marked a century of naval aviation.

      L-R: Lieutenant Mansfield Spong (RN), Flight Commander from HMS Protector in her first commission to the ice in 1955. It was Lieutenant Spong who piloted the first Helicopter to fly over South Georgia; Admiral Sir Desmond Cassidi, GCB, Executive Officer of HMS Protector in her first commission to the ice in 1955 who also flew 911 from HMS Protector; Rear Admiral Terry Loughran CB, Chairman of the Fly Navy Heritage Trust

      The 2009 issue 'Fly Navy' commemorative stamps


      • #93
        Another stamp (just in case there are any philatelists reading):


        • #94
          Memories of the freezing winter of 1962 ..

          Stranded families cut off by deep snow in the Lammermuir Hills in Scotland, greet an RAF Whirlwind delivering supplies to isolated farms


          • #95
            The last of the Antarctic Whirlwinds (for now):

            Westland Whirlwind HAR1 XA866 (920) as seen in the Antarctic Peninsula in February 1964 (Photo: Joe Barr)

            Whirlwind 940 in the Southern Atlantic c. 1960's


            • #96

              A brief look at some of the former John Laing & Co. company craft; courtesy of Elipix's collection!

              All photos by Paul Kelsey (Helipix) and all photos taken at Elstree Aerodrome.

              AS355F1 G-JLCO owned by John Laing from 1983-87

              Agusta A109A Mk II G-JLCY owned by John Laing from 1989-91

              Bell 222B G-OJLC owned by John Laing from March to August of 1991


              • #97

                Armstrong-Flint were one of the world’s pioneers in civil helicopter operations.

                Knute Flint was a former Commander of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) first Helicopter Rescue Squadron which operated in Burma in 1944. After returning from Burma Flint formed a commercial helicopter company located in Burbank, Los Angeles, together with business partner Harry Armstrong. The company was registered in 1946.

                The inaugural meeting of what is today the Helicopter Association International, took place at Armstrong-Flint’s Burbank offices two years later on 13th December 1948 and was originally named the ‘Helicopter Council’. In 1949 the organisation changed its name to the California Helicopter Association and in 1951 to the ‘Helicopter Association of America’.

                In their early years of operations Armstrong-Flint pioneered numerous applications of the helicopter including postal delivery, police observation, fire-fighting, crop spraying, power line patrol, seismic survey and aerial filming to name but a few of their exploits.

                In 1952 Knute Flint was asked by the Royal Dutch Shell Company to provide helicopter transport and survey services in Dutch New Guinea (now Irian Jaya) and which led to the formation of Bahamas Helicopters Ltd. In 1956 a contract for work in the Papua Province of Dutch New Guinea necessitated re-equipping with S-58's. and, to finance this, the first public offering of company stock was made.

                In 1957 Armstrong and Flint re-named their company World Wide Helicopters Ltd. to better reflect the company's diverse operations. World Wide went on to operate in multiple locations globally including South America, Europe, Africa and Asia as well as throughout the United States.

                An Armstrong-Flint Bell 47-B conducting a 'ladder stunt' at the Santa Anita Race Track in Arcadia (to the north-east of Los Angeles) at a fund raising air show for US veterans c. late 1940's

                An Armstrong-Flint Bell 47-B, possibly at Burbank Airport c. late 1940's


                • #98
                  Speaking of Whirling winds, what's happened to Whirlwind HAR.10 XJ729/G-BVGE?

                  Was bought for scrap in 1992, restored to flight that year and flew regularly until its departure to Ireland in the late 90's. She was a regular airshow performer during the mid 90's including RIAT in 1995.

                  Currently owned by James Kelly in Ireland, her permit to fly expired late 2008 and was not renewed. According to the CAA website she was declared "No Flight" as of 16/12/2010.

                  I heard she is flying again in the UK. True?


                  • #99
                    Ciao Shane!

                    Yes, it is quite true and your query is timely given that I've had some photos of XJ729 sitting in my 'To Post' folder since August!

                    As you say, "29" was bought by Jim Kelly from Brian Austen in 1999 but last year Andrew Whitehouse of Crewkerne, Somerset bought her from Jim and as a result of his efforts the craft had her CofA Permit to Fly re-issued on 5th December 2013.

                    The photos I have are taken by Rick Ingham who's fine photography I featured on several occasions on that 'other' site. Rick's webpage on XJ729 records the following:

                    XJ729 started life as a Westland Whirlwind HAR2 (cn WA100) built at Yeovil and first flew on 18th January 1956. It was flown to RAF St. Mawgan on 3rd March 1956 but later returned for adjustments before being re-delivered to 22 Squadron at RAF St. Mawgan on 9th March 1956.

                    The craft returned again to Westlands to be upgraded to HAR10 taking to the air on 22nd February 1962 for her post-upgrade test flight and on 16th March 1962 "29" was returned to 22 Squadron at St. Mawgan.

                    In 1964 she was transferred to RAF Leconfield where she served with 202 Squadron ‘B Flight’ from 1964 until 1971. In subsequent years she went to RAF Leuchars with 202 Squadron ‘C Flight’ (1971), RAF Coltishall, 1972 to 1974, RAF Chivenor, with 202 Squadron ‘C Flight’, from 1974 until 1978 and with 22 Squadron ‘A Flight’, and finishing her career at SARTU (Search and Rescue Training Unit) RAF Valley.

                    In 1981 "29" was withdrawn from use and transported (under-slung by a Sea King) from RAF Valley to SAREW (Search and Rescue Engineering Wing) at RAF Finningley where it became an instructional airframe registered as 8732M.

                    When SAREW closed, "29" was left outside and deteriorated to such an extent that it was put up for disposal. Luckily she was purchased from a scrapyard by a Brian Austen who rebuilt her in a yard in Cricklade, Wiltshire before before moving the craft to Oaksey Park Aifrield near Kemble. After Brian's restoration work "29" wasplaced on the civil register as G-BVGE in 1993. The craft appeared in the static display of the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in 1995.
                    And here are a couple of Rick's photos:

                    Westland Whirlwind HAR Mk10 G-BVGE/XJ729 as seen at Dawlish in South Devon on 22nd August 2014 (Photo: Rick Ingham)

                    Westland Whirlwind HAR Mk10 G-BVGE/XJ729 as seen at Dawlish in South Devon on 22nd August 2014 (Photo: Rick Ingham)

                    To see more photo's of "29", check-out Rick's website here.

                    With sincere thanks to Rick Ingham for these photos and for the many terrific photos he has given permission to post over the years. Rick .. you are a star!

                    A video of "29" departing the Weston Air Festival in June 2014:

                    By the way, at the beginning of the video one can (just about) hear the igniters ticking away .. lovely! Also .. I didn't realise that the Gnome arrangement in the Whirlwind operated (I am assuming) in similar fashion to the Gazelle so that one starts-up with the rotors 'braked'!


                    • More Everard

                      Some may recall a few comments which were posted on the previous page about the late Tony Everard.

                      And here is a little more:

                      The roots of the high-flying Everard dynasty were very much grounded in Leicestershire, as Leicester Mercury reader Bill Shooter reveals and he should know – he was born in the family’s stables!

                      “Your article concerning Mr Anthony Everard, of Ratcliffe Hall, was most interesting,” writes Mr Shooter, of Western Park, Leicester.

                      “As you explained, he was one of the county’s helicopter pioneers. What can be added, however, is that he was carrying on a family aviation tradition. It really began at Bradgate House, where Anthony Everard’s grandfather, Thomas Everard, was in residence and where my grandfather, William Henstock, was his head groom and coachman.

                      Sir Lindsay Everard, who developed Ratcliffe Aerodrome in the 1930's​

                      “My grandfather and his family lived at the stables, where there was some very acceptable accommodation. It would seem that I am the last survivor of Bradgate, having been born at the stables back in 1925!

                      “Mr Thomas Everard had two children, Lindsay – father of Anthony Everard – and Phyllis Everard. It was Mr Lindsay Everard who developed an important aerodrome at Ratcliffe in the 1930s.

                      “In 1949, to commemorate their 100 years, Everards Brewery produced a book which describes the aviation history at Ratcliffe in some detail. I quote from this book: “On September 6, 1930, Mr Everard opened his own private aerodrome in a field near Ratcliffe Hall.

                      Bradgate House stables, where Bill Shooter was born in 1925

                      “The inauguration ceremony was attended by over 5,000 people and 100 light aircraft. The guest of honour was aviator Amy Johnson, who had achieved worldwide fame by flying solo to Australia only three months before. A flight of Siskin aircraft performed a stunt flypast – in formation and tied together!

                      “During the 1930s, the airfield had regular air shows and competitions, including annual meetings of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (The World Air Sports Federation).

                      “Sir Lindsay often used Parliamentary recesses to undertake air tours in Europe and the Near East. His was one of three planes which visited Cairo, Venice, Cannes and Paris, in 1932.

                      “Air races were extremely popular in the 1930s. They were great social events, and during one race in 1932, a house party at Ratcliffe flew in five aeroplanes to Skegness, had a picnic and a dip in the sea, before flying back to the house in time for dinner!

                      “Sir Lindsay’s 1930s air tours also took him into Adolf Hitler’s Germany. The Treaty of Versailles at the end of the First World War had laid down precise limits for the German armed forces, including strict controls on its government, which was circumventing these restrictions. On his return, Sir Lindsay presented questions in the House of Commons which revealed the disturbing fact, that while in Britain there were 1,000 amateur flying club members, Germany had 50,000.”

                      Mr Shooter continues: “History tells us that when war was declared in 1939, we had only a relatively few trained pilots compared with Nazi Germany and clearly, some would have been involved with Ratcliffe.

                      Tony Everard skiing in Switzerland with Bell 47 HB-XAY

                      “Let us therefore not underestimate the vital and outstanding contribution to the final winning of the war by Mr Lindsay Everard, later Sir Lindsay Everard, at Ratcliffe, throughout the 1930s and the war itself, when the aerodrome took on a different but important role.”

                      Mr Shooter says: “Turning again to Mr Anthony Everard and quoting from the book: “He took a regular commission with the Royal Horse Guards. Serving as a captain, he was wounded in action in 1944 while serving in Normandy after the D-Day landings, but rejoined his regiment the same year. In 1947, he resigned his commission and joined the family company on October 14.

                      “Tony inherited his father’s love of flying and earned his fixed-wing pilot’s licence in 1947. “He was to become better known, however, for his passion for a new form of aviation — helicopters — and acquired his helicopter licence in 1963.

                      “In 1966, he founded the Helicopter Club of Great Britain, opening a heliport at Ratcliffe, which hosted the first ever ‘hover-in’ the year after.”

                      Mr Shooter adds: “Leicestershire and the Everard family can be rightly proud of the enormous contribution to aviation by Sir Lindsay Everard and his son, Anthony.”


                      • .................................................. .................

                        Irish Helicopters S-61N EI-BLY as seen on the grounds of University College Dublin in February 1988 where it was being used to transport journalists covering the visit of President Francois Mitterrand


                        • Bristow Whirlwind and crew on HM Coast Guard duty at RAF Manston in Kent in 1967


                          • Hoveratsix
                            Hoveratsix commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Pilot standing is possibly Mike Wood. Middle front is Dick Drake. I recognise the other two but cannot remember names. I worked briefly at Manston in early 1971 on this contract.

                        • Designation: Mil Mi-4
                          Manufacturer: Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant
                          First Flight: 1952

                          Number Produced: 4,000+
                          Additional Designations:
                          • Type 36 (US Department of Defence)
                          • Hound (NATO)
                          • The Russian Chickasaw (American colloquial)
                          • The Russian Whirlwind (British colloquial)
                          The Mi-4 was developed in response to America's deployment of helicopters during the Korean War and was fashioned after the Sikorsky H-19 Chickasaw - and which was apparent from the Mi-4's overall appearance. The Mi-4 was however larger than the Chickasaw and boasted a greater payload.

                          Design work on the Mi-4 began in the second half of 1951 with the prototype being flown in August 1952. The Mi-4 was already in Soviet Air Force service by August 1953, when it was first seen publicly at the Tushino Aviation Day. The type was exported among the defence forces of the former Soviet Union, as well as Poland, and was built under licence in China where it carried the designation Harbin Z-5.

                          A Soviet summary of the Mi-4:

                          An Mi-4 as seen at the base of Mount Narodnaya (6,214 ft) in the Ural Mountains in Western Russia c. 1959


                          • Elfan's Brantly B-2B G-OAPR during the Weston Air Festival in June this year (Photo: Matt Prosser)

                            One of only four on the UK register.

                            Bravissimo Elfan!


                            • The First US Navy Helicopter

                              On 16th October 1943 (seventy-one years ago this week) following a test flight at Bridgeport, Connecticut, by Lieutenant Commander Frank A. Erickson, USCG, the US Navy accepted its first helicopter, the YR-4B, which was of course to become the HNS-1 Hoverfly
                              (Photo: National Naval Aviation Museum)


                              • More Brantly ..

                                Brantly B-2 D-HEBE (cn 40) as seen at Maastricht's Zuid Limburg Airport on 14th September 2014 (Photo: Fred Willemsen)

                                This aircraft is owned by one of the senior staff at Eurocontrol - who occupy the building seen in the background.


                                • More Brantlys in Britain ..

                                  G-ASXF as seen at Biggin Hill on 19th May 1973 (Photo: Jonathan Walron)

                                  A rare shot! The uncommon Brantly 305 seen here during its time with Express Aviation at Biggin Hill Aerodrome in Kent (a place I visited frequently during the 70's).

                                  Prior to joining Express this craft was owned by Air Gregory at Denham who had bought her from the Brantly distributor (BEAS) in 1970. BEAS (who were based at Oxford Kidlington) had imported the craft from the US in 1964.

                                  Express Aviation made use of Decca's hangar at Biggin Hill as is confirmed by the presence of that songbird .. G-ARIA (Decca's Bell 47) .. which is located behind 'XF' in the photo.


                                  • More Hoverfly ..

                                    A US Coast Guard HNS-1 Sikorsky R-4 043 departs for a survey of the South Pole waters during a US Navy Antarctic Expedition in 1944. The R-4 is departing the icebreaker Northwind. In the distance are other ships of Task Force 68.
                                    (Photo: Courtesy of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library)


                                    • A 1953 overview of the helicopter by Encyclopedia Britannica films:


                                      • For Wiggy!

                                        Memories from Glasgow

                                        Clyde Helicopters Hughes 500C (369HS) G-GASA as seen at Glasgow International Airport in 1986 (Photo: Stewart Robertosn)

                                        Wearing Clyde Helicopters titles but registered (at the time of the photo) to Flair Soft Drinks in Leatherhead, Surrey (one of Denissimo's customers) who were possibly leasing the craft to Clyde. She does however possess some Scottish pedigree in that her first UK owner was Jack Tatties of Fife who purchased her in 1983 and then flew her as G-TATI.

                                        From 'Tatties' she went to March Helicopters for a short time before going to Southern Air and then Flair Soft Drinks. She ended-up as a 'Highlands Hughes' though when in 1987 she was purchased by Black Isle Helicopters of Culbokie in Ross-shire.

                                        Sadly, she came a cropper the following year during a lifting job at Crubenmore, Glen Truim when the external load she was carrying struck her tail rotor. The aircraft was written-off but the pilot was thankfully unharmed.

                                        Bell 206L1 LongRanger II G-CINE as seen at Glasgow International Airport in 1990 (Photo: Stewart Robertson)

                                        Owned by Airward Aviation of Warrington at the time of this photo but originally owned by PLM Helicopters of Dalcross Airport, Inverness who acquired her in 1984. She was sold to Airward in 1988 and then exported to Canada in 1991.


                                        • BEA S-61N flying sections of a gas mains pipeline to Langney Marshes in 1966

                                          The registration is a little tricky to read on this photo but .. I am reasonably confident that it is G-ASNM 'aka Arsenam'.


                                          • Hoveratsix
                                            Hoveratsix commented
                                            Editing a comment
                                            G-ASNM ditched in the North Sea in November 1970. Captains Dave Creamer and Keith Gregson + 1 passenger were rescued uninjured.

                                        • Very happy to report that having contacted former BEA helicopter pilot William Ashpole about the above photo he came back with the following:

                                          This photograph brings back some memories. It is me and Jock Cameron flying and the aircraft is indeed G-ASNM.

                                          This was a job for William Press & Son (a company which during the 1970's converted about 50% of the UK's homes from town gas to natural gas) and took place (as your photo records) at Langley Marshes in Norfolk. William Press were contracted to SEGAS and we were tasked with lifting 280 pipes each weighing a tonne. Also flying with us over those two days were BEA Helicopters Operations Manager Dave Eastwood and the company's Commercial Manager Doug Pritchard.

                                          Other BEA S-61's which I flew in the 60's and 70's (with the same paint scheme in dark blue with grey and white) were G-ATFM, G-ATBJ, G-ASNL and G-AWFX.

                                          - William Ashpole
                                          Our great thanks to William for these comments. Its most gratifying to unearth the details surrounding these nostalgic photos. Be sure to check out William's website here.


                                          • In seeking (or should that be sea king ) to track down some of the S-61's flown by William, I have happened upon G-ATBJ:

                                            British Airways S-61N G-ATBJ (cn 61-269) as seen at Newcastle's Woolsington Airport in June 1976 (Photo: The Martin Harrison Collection)


                                            • Bell 47-B as seen at Trexlertown Airport in Pennsylvania in December 1953. The aircraft was hired by Hess Brothers department store and was headed to the roof of their store on Hamilton Street, Allentown in Pennsylvania. (Photo courtesy of Elwood Christ)


                                              • Dragonfly and Whirlwind from HMS Glory participate in 'Operation Snowdrop' bringing relief to snow-stricken villages across Scotland in the winter of 1955:


                                                • G-ARIA: Decca's Little Songbird!

                                                  G-ARIA was a beautiful little Bell 47 based at Biggin Hill Airport in Kent, England and owned by the Decca Navigation Company. She was flown by the late Edward 'Robin' Hood and was used for testing a variety of Decca's pioneering avionics systems. I saw this helicopter many times during the 70's at Biggin Hill.

                                                  To facilitate the development of lightweight airborne equipment, particularly that destined for helicopters, Decca acquired a Bell 47-G helicopter from Worldwide Helicopters in 1966 It was used mainly for Decca Mk 15, 19 Doppler 71 and later for Data Link development and testing.

                                                  That helicopter was a three seat model powered by a 200 hp Franklin 6V4-200-C32 engine which gave it a cruising speed of 70 knots and an endurance of 2.5 hours. It was equipped with full night flying equipment and a modified instrument panel which included a lightweight artificial horizon, heading indicator and a hovermeter. In the mid 60's it was fitted with a Mk 8 Navigator receiver, a flight log, and a well as a series 70 light-weight Doppler. During this time period it was also used in the evelopment program for the Doppler 70 series, Doppler 80 series and the Mk 15/19 Decca Navigator.

                                                  Decca Doppler for helicopters was proving to be of great interest to everyone in that particular field so Decca did a lot of demonstrating. The receiver aerial was no more than a foot from the ground and without even flying, one could slide along the grass and get a reading of half a knot or less. The output was coupled to a speed meter and a cross pointer meter so that it was even possible to hover blind.

                                                  Peter Huggins relates this flying anecdote. "In May of 1966 I was bringing the helicopter back from the Air Show at Hanover in a howling South West wind. It was a slow progress having flown from Hanover to Osnabruk to Nornhorn to Hilversum. From Hilversum to Rotterdam was dead into gale force winds and it took me one hour and fifteen minutes to fly a distance of 35 miles. I was flying as low as I dared to get the lowest head wind possible when something caught my eye below and I found that I was being overtaken by a frightened cow! I was almost stationary at the time".

                                                  Peter flew the helicopter occasionally but the main pilot was Edward A. Hood, also known by the nickname of "Robin Hood.” Edward was a pipe smoker and would sometimes puff away when flying, much to the chagrin of any passenger. It is not known how long Decca kept the helicopter but the Civil Aviation Authority records indicate that G-ARIA was registered to the Arabian Aircraft Corporation in Brighton in May, 1984. By March 1987 the Bell 47-G was and transferred to France since the C-of-A expired in February 1986.

                                                  Bell 47G G-ARIA as seen at Biggin Hill on 16th September 1961 (Photo: Brendan McCartney)

                                                  Decca's beautiful little Bell, G-ARIA, at Biggin in July 1970 (Photo: Carl Ford)​

                                                  Decca Navigator Co's Bell 47G G-ARIA at London Gatwick on 12th October 1967 (Photo: Chris England)

                                                  G-ARIA at London Gatwick, piloted by P. Huggins (date unknown)

                                                  Bell 47G-1 G-ARIA at Biggin Hill in 1961 (Photo: Jeremy Hughes)

                                                  G-ARIA at Biggin Hil

                                                  ARIA's cockpit with an early flight data recorder fitted atop the panel


                                                  • Castle Air nostalgia ..

                                                    Roy Flood playing 'football' with G-SPEY in the 1990's TV show 'You Bet':


                                                    • While on Castle Air ..

                                                      Keith Thompson with Anneka Rice on board G-BHXU in 1982

                                                      Agusta-Bell 206B JetRanger III G-BHXU as seen in 1986 (undisclosed location)


                                                      • Agusta-Bell 206B JetRanger II G-NOEL as seen at Cheltenham Racecourse on 30th May 1981 (Photo: Ray Barber)

                                                        Noel Edmonds seen here flying his JetRanger at the British Helicopter Championships, which in 1981 was sponsored by Colt cars.

                                                        At the ‘81 Championships, first place was won by Richard Reeve and John Wells in a Hughes 300, second place went to Sid and Anita Cole in a Brantly B2, and third place was won by Bill Gray and Peter Webb in an Enstrom F28.

                                                        A few weeks before this photo was taken, I was on my way out of Brooklands with the Alton Towers LongRanger, when I happened to see Noel practicing for this event. I guess he had flown over from Fairoaks, where G-NOEL was normally maintained – indeed by the venerable TRC!


                                                        • G-CINE in Dublin during the summer of 1993, operating for Celtic Helicopters and performing pleasure flights from the Point Depot.