BRISTOL SYCAMORE HELICOPTER
The Sycamore was the first British-designed helicopter to go into service with the RAF at home and overseas. Developed from the original Bristol Type 171 Mk.1 which first flew on 24 July 1947, the aircraft was powered by a Pratt and Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior engine of 450hp. The aircraft refurbished by MAPS on behalf of the RAF Museum was a search and rescue version which had a crew of two and could carry three passengers or two stretchers. This was the one and only helicopter refurbished by MAPS and is now on show in the RAF Museum at Hendon.
As you can see from the first photograph the tail section was broken in half and much work and ingenuity was needed to restore it. The other major factor was the nose section which was totally devoid of glazing. Fortunately we found a company to undertake the glazing but it still took several weeks of work to finally get it aligned perfectly. The day-glo finish was most fitting for a Search and Rescue helicopter. The propeller blades were made of timber and consequently were in a very unstable condition. They were reinforced and now look as good as new. The blades are so long that they droop and have been supported to avoid visitors banging their heads!