July 21, 2007

Bristol Sycamore helicopter

Bristol set up its Helicopter Department in after the Allied invasion of Europe in 1944, when engineers from the Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment at Beaulieu became available. The AFEE had been working on the development of helicopter designs under helicopter pioneer Raoul Hafner, but the success of Horsa and Hamilcar gliders during Operation Overlord led to helicopter research being given a priority at AFEE.

The design of the Sycamore commenced in June 1944, and extended over more than two years, with especial emphasis being given to the endurance of the mechanical components. The maiden flight took place on 27 July 1947, with the prototype VL958 powered by a 450 hp Pratt and Whitney Wasp Junior (there being no suitable engine in the Bristol range). The prototype Sycamore Mk.2 was completed in the summer of 1948, powered by a 550 hp Alvis Leonides; this became the standard engine for all subsequent Sycamore production.

Versions of the Sycamore up to and including the Mk.3A kept to the standard two-seat aircraft layout of having the pilot in the left-hand seat and co-pilot in the right. The main production, the Mk.4, switched to the American standard practice of having the pilot's seat on the right. There were also a number of other developments from earlier versions, such as a four-door design, that were standardized for the Mk.4. This version entered RAF service as the H.R.14.

Civil versions did not use the name Sycamore, and were known simply as Bristol Type 171.

Bristol Type 171 Sycamore helicopter photo

The Bristol Type 171 Sycamore was the first British designed helicopter to fly and also the first to serve with the Royal Air Force. Created by the Bristol Aeroplane Company, it was used for search and rescue and anti-submarine warfare.

The Sycamore H.R.14 entered service with 275 Squadron of the RAF in April 1953, and went on to serve with nine squadrons in total. It was used during the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960) for deploying Army foot patrols into the jungle.

A total of 50 Sycamores were delivered to the German Federal Government, and three to the Belgian Government.

The Sycamore also has the distinction of being the second helicopter type to be used by the Australian Defence Forces, when seven were delivered to the Royal Australian Navy.

The full of this article's can be read on the source at: Wikipedia

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