BRISTOL 171 MK 111 SYCAMORE (WA576)
Bristol 171 MK 111 Sycamore
This aircraft was acquired by the Museum in June 1987 after it had spent 6 years in the open suffering from the effects of weather and vandalism. The rotor blades are of plywood construction and are seriously damaged due to mishandling and damp storage conditions. The Leonides engine has been removed which is in excellent condition and is displayed on the ground floor of the main building. WA576 first served with the joint experimental helicopter unit and took part in military trials, later being used as an instructional airframe at RAF Halton. It first flew in 1950, and was one of 4 MK111 pre-production models which were the first British designed helicopters to enter RAF service. The Sycamores which entered front-line squadron service had several modifications compared with the one seen here, having a longer stroke under-carriage, hinged (rather than sliding) front doors, and a hydraulic winch for search and rescue duties.