The Helicopter Museum
British Helicopters


The British helicopter manufacturing industry is a very long history and has long been associated with such famous designers as: J. G. Weir, C. G. Pullin, J. Shapiro and Raol Hafner, with the latter's earliest helicopter to fly on display in the museum collection.

Three companies are associated with British helicopter manufacturing since World War II and the museum's collection is divided into separate pages.

Please follow one of the Links below to view the British companies.

Click here to view the Bristol Aircraft Helicopters in the Collection      Click here to view the Fairey Aviation Helicopters in the Collection      Click here to view the AgustaWestland Helicopters in the Collection

Hafner R II.
Built in 1930 in Vienna, Austria, this was a variant of the original single-seat  R I, powered by a Salmson 9 Adr radial piston engine. Initial tests in Vienna proved little more successful than those with the R I and in 1932 the team with the R II moved to Heston Airport in Middlesex. The R II was too under-powered and lacked sufficient control to fly and eventually went into storage. The R II was rediscovered in a crate in 1961 and refurbished by Westland apprentices before later being loaned to the Shuttleworth Trust and the Torbay Air Museum. The aircraft joined the Helicopter Museum in May 1979, when a survey showed the need for extensive restoration and this was undertaken jointly by a group of Westland volunteers and the Glider Support Unit based at RAF Locking. Following this work it was evident that this historic helicopter needed to be properly protected from the elements and it was mutually agreed to place it with the Museum of Army Flying at Middle Wallop on loan, which could provide suitable undercover protection. In 1996 Raoul Hafner's widow officially donated the R II to the Helicopter Museum, and in April 2000 it returned to the Museum to go on permanent display.

Cierva C-30A, G-ACWM/AP506/G-ACWM, C/N. 715.
The Cierva C-30 was designed by Don Juan de la Cierva, who perfected the autogiro design during the 1920s and 1930s. G-ACWM was the 11th production C-30A built in early 1935 in Manchester as a two-seat autogiro, powered by one Armstrong Siddley Genet Major IA 7-cylinder radial piston engine. It was operated by the Autogiro Flying Club at Hanworth initially, before passing to the Thanet Aero Club in January 1939. In 1940 it was pressed into service by the Royal Air Force for radar calibration duties and given the military serial AP506. Post-war G-ACWM was in storage for some 20 years in the rafters of a private garage near Tewkesbury before being rediscovered and purchased by Elfan Ap Rees and is currently displayed in "as found" condition alongside other C-30A memorabilia.

Cierva Rotorcraft Grasshopper III, G-AWRP, C/N. GB-1.
The Grasshopper III followed the work done by Jacob Shapiro in developing the Servotec Grasshopper I and II. Built in 1969 at Redhill, Surrey as an experimental five-seat coaxial rotor helicopter it was powered by two Rolls Royce Continental IO-300-C 6-cylinder piston engines. First flown in June 1970, by 1971 it had logged a maximum speed of 167 kph (104mph), reached 762m (2500 ft) altitude and carried out at least one full autorotation. Its last flight took place in October 1971 and it was subsequently moved to Blackpool Airport from where the Museum obtained it in February 1993. The Museum also holds the remains of the second prototype G-AXFM, C/N. GB-2, which was utilised for ground running tests and the centre section floor pan and dynamics system of the uncompleted third prototype G-AZAU, C/N. GB-3.

Saunders Roe Skeeter AOP Mk.12, XL811, C/N. S2/5096.
Built in 1958 at Eastleigh, Hampshire as a two-seat army observation helicopter, the Skeeter is powered by a De Havilland Gipsy Major Mk.140 4-cylinder piston engine. XL811 was the 24th production Skeeter delivered by road/ferry from the Cowes factory to Eastleigh, Hampshire, from where it made its first flight on 6th February 1959. It was delivered to the Army Air Corps Centre at Middle Wallop, Hampshire, in February 1959 and subsequently issued to No. 651 Squadron Advanced Helicopter Flight for pilot training and later with No. 656 Squadron BAOR in Germany. It was placed in storage in December 1967, and later privately purchased by Elfan Ap Rees and delivered by road to the Museum in September 1992.

Campbell Cougar, G-BAPS, C/N. CA.6000.
The Campbell Aircraft Company was founded in the late 1950s to develop and build autogyros and in 1969 began production of the single seat Cricket autogyro. This was later followed by a two-seat project and the construction of a single seat prototype was carried out by Western Airways at Weston-super-Mare Airport in early 1973. Powered by a single Rolls Royce Continental O-240-A 4-cylinder `flat-four' piston engine it first flew in April 1973. Following a period in storage, G-BAPS was donated to the Helicopter Museum in 1978.

Husband Modac 500 Hornet.
The Hornet Gyroplane was designed and developed by Richard Husband as a private venture between 1997-2003 at Rivelin Sheffield. The design incorporated the latest ideas and technology, aimed at improving the performance and handling of the current light autogyros available on the market. These ideas included composite components. a three-bladed airscrew, and an improved main rotor system. In particular his design for a pre-rotator gearbox to spin up the main rotor was intended to provide a near vertical "jump" take off. The larger than normal tail unit was to counter the rotor toque during this event. The Hornet is known to have flown on several short hops during taxiing trials at Rivelin in June-July 2002. Following these initial tests Husband began to investigate the installation of a four-bladed propeller and other design refinements but development ended with his death in April 2003.The airframe and related material were subsequently donated to The Helicopter Museum by his family and arrived at the Museum in November 2004.

Watkinson CG-4, BAPC128.
The CG-4 was the third manpowered 'Cyclogyroplane' built by Mr. Herbert Watkinson of Bexhill in his effort to win the $50,000 Kremer prize for man powered flight. By March 1977 the CG-4 was nearing completion, and permission to carry out flight trials at Lydd Airport in Kent had been granted. Then came a major set back in 1977, Mr. Watkinson was diagnosed as terminally ill and died at Bexhill in October 1977. After going into storage this unique machine, together with all the surviving documentation and photographs of the Cyclogyroplane story, was donated to the Helicopter Museum for preservation as a tribute to one man's attempt to fly with the birds.

Murray M-1, BAPC60.
Built in 1954 at Salford, Manchester by Mr. John Murray, a motor mechanic from Salford, who started designing and building this single seat helicopter in 1951 in his spare time. He utilised the equipment available to him in his garage and spent three years and over 1000 building what was designated the M-1. It was ready to start testing in May 1954 powered by a JAP J-99 piston engine. In 1995 the Murray M-1 was donated to the Helicopter Museum but is missing the engine and many other original components. The M-1 is however an interesting example of an early homebuilt helicopter, when the belief that "everybody would have a personal helicopter" existed.

Click here to view the European helicopters in the collection.
Western European

Click here to view the Eastern European helicopters in the collection.
Eastern European

Click here to view the American helicopters in the collection.
North American





Hafner R II



Cierva C-30A



Cierva Rotorcraft Grasshopper III, G-AWRP


Saunders Roe Skeeter AOP Mk.12, XL811



Campbell Cougar, G-BAPS


Husband Modac 500 Hornet



Watkinson CG-4, BAPC128

Murray M-1, BAPC60