Bristol 171 Sycamore Mk.52

Bristol Sycamore

CountryUK
RoleRescue and Anti-Submarine Helicopter
First flight27 July 1947
Built180

The Bristol Type 171 Sycamore was an early helicopter developed and built by the helicopter division of the Bristol Aeroplane Company. The name refers to the seeds of the sycamore tree, Acer pseudoplatanus, which fall with a rotating motion. It has the distinction of being the first British helicopter to receive a certificate of airworthiness, as well as being the first British-designed helicopter to be introduced by and to serve with the Royal Air Force (RAF).

Source: Bristol Sycamore on Wikipedia

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The Bristol Sycamore was a pioneering helicopter that marked several milestones in British aviation history. It was developed by the Bristol Aeroplane Company in the late 1940s, based on the innovative design of Raoul Hafner, an Austrian engineer who had joined Bristol after the Second World War. The Sycamore was named after the seeds of the sycamore tree, which have a similar shape and spinning motion as the helicopter’s rotor blades.
The Sycamore was powered by a radial engine, either a Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior or an Alvis Leonides, and had a four- or five-seat cabin with sliding doors. It had a metal frame covered with fabric and metal panels, and a three-bladed main rotor and tail rotor. The pilot sat on the right side of the cockpit, which became the standard position for helicopters. The Sycamore could perform various roles, such as transport, rescue, observation and training.
The Sycamore was the first British-designed helicopter to enter production and to receive a civilian certificate of airworthiness. It was also the first helicopter to serve with the Royal Air Force (RAF), which operated 85 of them under the designation Sycamore HR.14. The Sycamore saw action in several conflicts, such as the Malayan Emergency, the Cyprus Emergency and the Aden Emergency, where it proved its versatility and reliability in challenging conditions.
The Sycamore was also exported to several countries, such as Australia, Belgium, Germany and Austria. It was used by civil operators for tasks like mountain rescue and aerial survey. A total of 180 Sycamores were built between 1947 and 1959, when production ended. The Sycamore was retired from RAF service in 1971 and from German service in 1974. Today, only a few examples survive in museums or private collections.

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