No announcement yet.

The Rotary Nostalgia Thread

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Great stuff Shane!

    Of LongRangers and Ireland ..

    Slieve Russell Hotel's Bell 206L LongRanger III, EI-CIO, as seen at Weston, on 18th May 1997 (Photo: Don Hewins)


    • With North Denes about to close .. a glimpse from the past:

      Bell 212 G-BJJO as seen at North Denes on 29th August 1985

      Bell 212 G-BJIU as seen at North Denes on 29th August 1985

      And some early American Bristow ..

      Max Sonnenberg Bell 212 N4503Q as seen at Vancouver International Airport in February 1984 (Photo: Gary Vincent)

      Not really Bristow North America .. but an ex-Bristow bird (G-BJZS) which became N4503Q and seen here being delivered to Okanagan just before she became C-GSQM.


      • Royal Canadian Air Force Sikorsky S-55B 9629 as seen in Canada c. 1958 (Photo: Mike Ody Collection courtesy of George Trussell)

        Delivered to the RCAF in 1954, this S-55 was engaged in supporting the construction of the Mid-Canada Line of Radar sites, aka the 'McGill Fence'. Several of the RCAF's S-55's were operated by civilian contractors.


        • While on the S-55 .. when you have your next tea or coffee break, why not check out this US Army instructional video on the H-19 Chickasaw (the military version of the S-55):


          • Colt Executive Aviation AS350B G-EORR as seen at Exeter Airport on 29th August 1981 (Photo: Chris England)

            Seen here on contract to the Devon and Cornwall police.

            This craft was of course named after the donkey in Winne-the-Pooh!


            • Westland S-55 Mk3 Whirlwind G-AYNP (cn WA71) named 'Cyonus' as seen at Exeter Airport on 23rd February 1978 (Photo: Chris England)


              • An overview of the Whirly Girls:


                • The Durham Police Brantlys

                  Between 1962-64, the UK's first police helicopter trials took place in the county of Durham, utilising Brantly B-2's from British Executive Air Services (BEAS), who were the UK Brantly distributor.

                  While BEAS were responsible for supplying aircraft and pilots, it seems as though they called upon other Brantly operators to assist in the contract, including Helicon Air of Darlington. This was a business owned by Alistair Craig (brother of the television actress Wendy Craig). One of the pilots flying for Helicon Air, was Canadian Dick Dorman, who was accompanied on the very first trial flights by Sgt Jack Blair, who performed the role of observer. Jack would later be dubbed Britain's first 'heli cop'. His only equipment was a 35mm camera, a portable two-way radio, and a pair of binoculars.

                  In the 60's, many financial transactions were made using cash, resulting in large sums of money being transported by road or rail, and which, as the Great Train Robbers proved, were highly vulnerable. As a result, the Durham Brantlys were tasked to a variety of traffic monitoring duties as well as, specifically, providing 'airborne escort' to cash-in-transit vans.

                  Consequently, during the two year trial period, there were no cash robberies from vehicles in Durham or North Yorkshire. The cost of the helicopter was £17,10 shillings per hour, and which was shared between the Home Office and the Durham Constabulary.

                  Perhaps because of it's success and low cost (equivalent to running two patrol cars), the Home Office employed a helicopter to police the growing M6 traffic in the west of the country. This however, proved more expensive, resulting in the Home Office allocating funds from the Durham trial to subsidise it. As a result, the Durham trial was grounded in 1964.

                  In 1967 Home Secretary Roy Jenkins came to Durham to lay the foundation stone for the new police headquarters at Aykley Heads. The Chief Constable at the time, Alec Muir, thought it would be an idea to convince the Home Secretary of the benefits of police air support, and so the Home Secretary was flown from Teeside Airport to Aykley.

                  For in flight entertainment, the Chief Constable had laid on a dummy bank job, which involved the helicopter giving chase to a hijacked security van along the A689. The Home Secretary's response to this demonstration was to state that “As an operational tool, the helicopter may have great potential in the police force”. However, no further Home Office funding was received by the Constabulary for the use of helicopters.

                  In 1989 the Northumbria Police began another helicopter trial which was so successful that, in 1995, the three North-East Constabularies joined forces to create the North-East Air Support Unit.

                  A Brantly B2 lands at Durham Police HQ at Aycliffe at the commencement of the trials on 5th November 1962

                  Pilot Dick Dorman and Sgt Jack Blair (acting as observer) in a B2 in 1962

                  Brantly B-2A G-ASEI (cn 304) belonging to Heliconair of Darlington, County Durham as seen during the trial in 1963

                  Brantly B-2 G-ARVY (cn 145) as seen at Peebles Hydro in the Scottish Borders in 1963. This craft, evidently, was also used in the trials

                  Given the dates of this trial (1962-64) there are only a handful of Brantly's which could have participated, namely: G-ARVY, G-ARYX, G-ARZI, G-ARZJ, G-ARZK and G-ASEI.

                  * * *

                  Given that I've mentioned the UK, police and 1962 .. I'm going to throw in this next photo (from my black and white album) for free!

                  Two policemen, what looks like a St. John's first-aider, and someone else (with arm band), on the touchline during a game at Spurs' White Hart Lane football ground, in Tottenham, London in 1962


                  • Above and below: British Airways Helicopters Westland WG30-100 G-BIWY (cn 901) as seen at Beccles Aerodrome in July 1985
                    (Photo: Stewart Robertson)


                    • Industry insider
                      Industry insider commented
                      Editing a comment
                      The top picture was taken at North Denes, Pad 6. BAH used to come in and pick up some passengers for the Hewitt and Arpet Field

                  • Bell 47-G (cn 117) G-ATYV as seen at Shoreham Airport on 21st July 1979

                    This craft was initially sold to Bill Armstrong of Autair (Luton) in 1966, and was then sent off to Sierra Leone three months after arriving in the UK. She was later sold to Alan Mann, before moving on to Kevin McDonald of Doncaster, who sold her back to Autair in 1976, ten years after she was first imported.

                    Autair then sold her to Roy Flood, and this became his first helicopter. Some may recall that Roy obtained his pilot's licence as a result of losing his driving licence - having been caught speeding in his Ferrari. Roy's next helicopter was the ex-Ferranti-managed JetRanger G-BAKX (see page 3).

                    In the photo, G-ATYV is pictured while owned by Minster Helicopters of Dorset, who in turn sold her to Heliwork at Thruxton (Ah Don Donnelly .. you are sorely missed!). The craft was finally exported to France in 1984.


                    • More 47 ..

                      Seeing as I've mentioned Roy Flood (who, as many will know, owns Castle Motors), perhaps this would be a good point at which to share another 47, owned by another garage owner, in the same neck of the woods:

                      Bell 47J-2 Ranger G-BFPP (cn 2851) as seen near Ipplepen in Devon on 30th June 1984 (Photo: Chris England)

                      Photographed in the garden of the Two Mile Oak pub near Ipplepen in Devon. This craft began her time in the UK in 1978 with Shawline Helicopters of Brand's Hatch in Kent, prior to being bought by David Fordham, owner of Two Mile Oak Garage in Devon.

                      This craft also appears on page 3 in a photo from 1993, when she was owned by Jim Kelley, from the Republic of Ireland.


                      • G-BFPP attending at the Helicopter Club of Ireland Fly-in at Weston Airfield, Dublin, on 28th August 1992:


                        • Heliconair Brantlys

                          Two Brantly B2 helicopters were registered to Heliconair ... G-ARZI and G-ASEI:

                          G-ARZI Brantly B2 (165) seen here during ownership by Everards Brewery (Helipixman Collection)

                          G-ASEI Brantly B.2A after use by Heliconair went to Glasgow with Taxicabs (City) Ltd (Photo: Helipixman Collection)

                          Registration cancelled by CAA on 1st December 1965. Not much known about Taxicabs, or who was behind this company?


                          • More Ranger and Brantly ..

                            Shane: Lovely photos, nice to see that interior shot!

                            Another UK registered Ranger:

                            Agusta-Bell 47J-2 Ranger G-ASNV (cn 2061) as seen at Coventry Airport on 10th April 1964 (Photo: Tony Wheeler)

                            This craft was bought by Turriff Construction in January of 1964, and seen in the above photo just three months later.

                            Elipix: Great stuff (as always), below is a little piece on Brantly's in the UK from 1964:

                            ..Flight International 2nd April 1964

                            The article reads:

                            Brantly in 1963: Flying hours accumulated by British Executive Air Services 14 Brantly B.2s up to the end of 1963 exceeded 3,640. Ten of these machines were acquired during the year, and individual operators now include Pontins Holiday Camps, Heliconair, Wessex Helicopters, Mr Sebastian de Ferranti, Mr Denis de Ferranti, Mr Anthony 'Tony' Everard and Alvis Ltd. Regular contract flying has been provided by BEAS for Warners Holiday Camps and Shell-Mex & BP Ltd.

                            Developments during the year included validation of the US crop-spraying kit of the B.2A and B.2B (fuel injection) models and of the float undercarriage ket; completion of trials by the MoA on behalf of the War Office in the UK and in Libya: and a major revision of ARB maintenance schedules.

                            Major airframe modifications in the UK have been handled by Beagle-Auster and engine overhauls by Alvis Ltd. All engines have achieved their full overhaul life without premature retirement, and the reconditioning of engine cylinders by rechroming in the UK has enabled engine verhaul costs to be significantly reduced. BEAS became the first MoA-approved helicopter school in the UK during the year, thus reducing the ab initio PPL requirement from 40hr to 30hr and the fixed-wing conversion from 30hr to 25hr. Twenty hours free instruction is provided by BEAS with each sale of a new of secondhand aircraft.
                            And one of the craft mentioned above:

                            Brantly B-2B G-ASJX as seen at Oxford Kidlington Aerodrome on 16th May 1966

                            This craft flew with Wessex Helicopters of Southampton, who purchased her in 1964.


                            • Something I came across in the Daily Telegraph, relating to those who were involved with Winston Churchill's funeral, which took place on 30th January 1965.​

                              David Kay (now 81) is from Angmering, West Sussex, and was managing director of the company which was responsible for providing aerial footage of the funeral:

                              David Kay with a Brantly B2 helicopter

                              “At the time, very few people specialised in, or were set up for, aerial photography, so my company was often called on by the world’s press.

                              “On the day of the funeral, I was asked to lay on aerial coverage – including for The Daily Telegraph. There were only about four or five suitable helicopters in those days, so that’s how many I sent up. They had piston engines, and had to follow the river by law.

                              “I remember it rained that day, and conditions were difficult. We’d agreed a ceiling with the Ministry of Aviation, which no one would fly below, but my pilots came back telling me of journalists from overseas, offering them fistfuls of foreign notes to break the rules, and go down to 500 or even 200 feet. Naturally, my pilots refused.

                              “I don’t think I managed to watch any of the service itself – I was so busy – and we certainly had no means of recording it. But, it was nonetheless a solemn day; Churchill was like the head of everyone’s family.”

                              - David Kay


                              • Nice one Shane!

                                David Kay was captured in that shot with G-ARVY (aka 'Harvey'), seen here in a photo from 1962:

                                Brantly B-2 G-ARVY (cn 145) as seen at Denham in April 1962 (Photo: Peter Fitzmaurice)

                                However, 'Harvey' would not have been one of the aircraft employed to cover Churchill's funeral, as she came a cropper on 28th August 1964, while performing autorotations at Kidlington.

                                There were only about four or five suitable helicopters in those days, so that’s how many I sent up. They had piston engines ..
                                Indeed. The first light turbine helicopter to be made available in the UK (to the best of my knowledge and discounting the Djinn) would have been Bristow's G-ATFC, an Alouette III, which was imported in June 1965, then sent to Iran two months later.


                                • My late godfather with the 'Dancer', G-AYTF, as seen at Lydd Airport in September 1980 (Photo: Sav)

                                  We were on our way to the Italian Grand Prix, which was held that year in Imola, as opposed to Monza.


                                  • More 'classic' 206 ..

                                    Agusta-Bell 206B JetRanger II G-OJCB (cn 8554) as seen at Cranfield Aerodrome on 3rd September 1983

                                    This was the former mount of the late John 'Chalky' White, JCB's first helicopter pilot.

                                    I would see Chalky flitting in and out of Brooklands in the late 70's and early 80's. Chalky had a unique 'style' of flying and which, as a youngster, I found most appealing! As with his flying, Chalky was also a very interesting person to be around.

                                    In this photo, the craft is seen wearning Air Hanson titles, having been bought by the same earlier that year when Chalky up-graded to a LongRanger (G-CJCB). During her time with JCB, this craft was only ever fitted with 'shorts' (short skids), but is seen here with 'pop-outs' so that she could run into Battersea on charter flights for Hanson.

                                    JCB bought 'Charlie Bravo' from Mann's in March 1978 and she was placed on the UK register the following month on 7th April. She was fitted with Ferranti's auto-stabilisation system, as well as a Decca DANAC moving map display.


                                    • Classic BEA ..

                                      British European Airways S-51 G-AKCU (cn 5128) as seen during Royal Mail trials in 1948

                                      G-AKCU in 1948 during Royal Mail trials

                                      G-AKCU was used in the first helicopter mail service in the UK, which was conducted on 1st June 1948 from Peterborough to Norwich. She was not a Westland Dragonfly (which were not produced until the following year) but was a Sikorsky imported from the US.

                                      For those interested in vehicles, the Royal Mail van in these photos was a 1948 Morris 8 Commercial (as seen below):


                                      • Royal Navy Westland Wessex HU.5 XS498 (WQ) as seen at Greenham Common on 27th June 1981 (Photo: Ray Pettit)


                                        • Staying with the Wessex (for this post) some rare footage from 1978, when a Royal Navy presentation team displayed a Westland Wessex Mk V at Churchdown School, Gloucestershire.

                                          In the notes to this clip, Alan Drewett (perhaps the videographer's son), says "Among the careers talks delivered by the various members of HM Armed Forces, by far and away the slickest and most spectacular pitches came from the Royal Navy" .. and which of course my late godfather would hotly dispute!

                                          Sadly there is no sound to this clip, but I hope some may enjoy it anyway:


                                          • A little look at G-BDWN (aka 'Baldwin') an SA318C which arrived in the UK in 1976. The craft's registration document identifies the constructor as SNIAS (Société Nationale Industrielle Aérospatiale) meaning 'Baldwin' would have been manufactured after the merger by Sud-Est, Nord Aviation and several other French aerospace concerns in 1970.

                                            She is first ascribed to Silverswift Ltd and then to AB Aviation Holdings, but is unquestioningly associated with the late Peter Allwork through his Airfilm Services company which he formed with Andrew von Preussen at Booker Aerodrome in High Wycombe. The same craft (as you will see below) is seen wearing 'Alouette Air' titles in 1980, during the filming of 'For Your Eyes Only' and which (I assume) was associated with Peter given that he was responsible for the aerial shots of G-BAKS (flown by Marc Wolfe) for the opening sequence of that movie. As it happens, I believe the late great John Crewdson may have been flying 'Baldwin' for Peter during the production of this movie.

                                            Some great memories indeed, with Peter being a dear friend of the Colonel having also served in the Royal Artillery.

                                            Airfilm Services SA318C Alouette II G-BDWN (cn 1901) as seen at Booker on 18th June 1976 (Photo: Barry Collman)

                                            SA318C Alouette II G-BDWN (cn 1901) as seen at Booker in September 1977 (Photo: NAA)

                                            Note the camera mount, what I 'think' is a wind deflector (at the for'ard section of the door frame), the side-mounted float bags and the missing airframe 'panels' beneath the engine.

                                            SA318C Alouette II G-BDWN (cn 1901) as seen at Beckton Gas works in 1980 (Photo: Alan Bushell)

                                            Seen above wearing 'Alouette Air' titles during the filming for 'Your Eyes Only' and almost certainly being flown by John Crewdson.

                                            Agusta-Bell 206B JetRanger II G-BAKS (cn 8339) as seen at Beckton Gas works in 1980 (Photo: Alan Bushell)

                                            Michael Wills' (Lord Dulverton) JetRanger seen here during the filming of 'For Your Eyes Only' and which was flown by Marc Wolfe.


                                            • N2221W .. And Memories from the Emerald Isle

                                              Bell 222A N2221W as seen at Cranfield Aerodrome in 1981 (Photo: Phil Blinkhorn)

                                              The Colonel ended-up flying this craft after Bell's demonstration pilot (a well known and a likeable chap) got into a bit of bother with Heathrow. So much bother in fact that upon landing at Battersea he was told by Master Ward (Battersea's controller at the time) to call Heathrow approach (via land line), who curtly instructed him to fly no more!

                                              Once he took over the flying, the Colonel .. being the Colonel .. would deliberately pause during his announcement of the aircraft's registration, in order to emphasise "one whisky". Those sort of things used to amuse him!

                                              Regarding whisky ..

                                              The Colonel in County Cashel, Tipperary, Easter 1980

                                              The Colonel would be sore displeased with me for sharing this photo. Not because of his unflattering pose .. but because of the whisky bottle! He was fairly fastidious about what he drank, and when it came to 'whisky' he drank malt, single malt, specifically The Glenlivet by his namesake 'Smith' (always a minimum of 12 years matured) or The Macallan, again, nothing under 12 years maturity. However .. in his luggage he would have a bottle of what he referred to as 'travelling whisky' (he never called malts 'whisky' btw) justifying this on the basis that often when travelling one felt like a 'wee snifter' but that to drink malt at such times (while 'on the hoof' as it were) was wasteful - this, evidently, was when 'travelling whisky' could be sampled!

                                              The Aran sweater he is wearing was bought in Galway, directly from the lady who knitted it, and whom he 'treated' to a drink at the local hostelry. She was a dear old lady .. who loved the Guinness!


                                              • Memories from Papua New Guinea

                                                Okanagan Bell 212 C-FBHF as seen at Port Moresby on 4th March 1983 (Photo: David Carter)


                                                • Classic Sea King: Hues of Blues!

                                                  Royal Navy Westland Sea King HAS1 XV649 PO-527 as seen at RNAS Yeovilton on 1st July 1971 (Photo: RA Scholefield)

                                                  From 737 Squadron based at RNAS Portland.

                                                  Royal Navy Westland Sea King HAS2 XZ576 BL-411 as seen at RNAS Culdrose on 30th August 1977 (Photo: RA Scholefield)

                                                  Belonging to 820 Squadron and no doubt visiting from HMS Blake.


                                                  • Memories from PNG

                                                    AS350B P2-PHB (cn 1516) as seen in Port Moresby on 4th March 1983

                                                    Flew this craft many times while in PNG. Sadly though, she was damaged by volcanic ash when Tavurvur volcano in Rabaul (on the island of New Britain) erupted in September 1994. Have a number of photos from my time in Rabaul .. and which I hope to unearth before too long.

                                                    Following this incident 'HB' was sent to Aus where she was repaired and became VH-JVC.


                                                    • The Yemen: 1967

                                                      Westland Wessex of 848 Naval Air Squadron from HMS Albion, evacuating Royal Marines from Aden in November 1967 (Photo: NAA)

                                                      Westland Wessex HU5 from HMS Albion carries stores ashore for men of 42 Commando on 25 November 1967. At this stage ships and aircraft of the Naval Task Force were assembled off Aden in preparation for the withdrawal which took place in the following week (Photo: NAA)


                                                      • Yeovilton 1971

                                                        Royal Navy Westland Wessex HAS3 XM329 PO-522 (cn WA9) as seen at RNAS Yeovilton on 17th September 1971 (Photo: RA Scholefield)

                                                        '22' was a member of 737 Squadron visiting from RNAS Portland.


                                                        • More Brantlys in Britain

                                                          We've had some reasonable coverage of Brantlys on this the page; herewith is the latest contribution:

                                                          BEAS Brantly B-2B G-ASHJ (cn 319) as seen at Oxford's Kidlington Airport on 18th July 1964 (Photo: RA Scholefield)

                                                          Regarding this aircraft, 'Waston' writes:

                                                          This aircraft appears to have been imported to take part in the evaluation to find a light recce helo for the British Army in the early 1960s, which ended up in the Sioux purchase. During the evaluation it flew with the markings XS683.

                                                          According to a book by Vic Flintham, the Brantly B2A & B was pitched against the Hiller UH-12E (a/c believed borrowed from the Fleet Air Arm), the Hughes 269A, and the Bell 47G-3B-1.

                                                          The competition trials were conducted in 1962 and 1963 by the A&AEE, in the UK and Libya. Hot & high conditions where the 47G might have performed well versus the others?

                                                          The Hughes were sponsored by Westland (in addition to the 47G), the Brantlys sponsored by BEAS, and the Hillers by Shorts.

                                                          The competition was narrowed down to the 47G (cost then £18k, £317k now!) versus the 12E (£22k then, £388k now).

                                                          Westland won with the 47G, price being a decider, and also the fact that they had more helicopter manufacturing experience than Shorts.


                                                          • TEST POST