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.
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.
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
Cierva C-30A, G-ACWM/AP506/G-ACWM,
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.
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,
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
Husband Modac 500
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"