WG724

North East Aircraft Museum      

Westland Dragonfly of NEAM

The Dragonfly belonging to the North East Aircraft Museum was originally built as a HR3, but up-graded later to HR5 standard. Ex Chester-le-Street, Moor Monkton, Blackbushe, Lossiemouth SF, Ford SF.>

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Dragonfly of the North East Aircraft Museum

Westland acquired the license rights to the Sikorsky S-51 in 1947. This was the first agreement of this sort, the precursor of several further license agreements between Sikorsky and Westland.

No 705 Helicopter Squadron of the Royal Navy, formed at Gosport in 1950 is believed to be the first all-helicopter squadron to be formed outside the USA, and was initially equipped with the Dragonfly.

Earlier experiments had been carried out by the Navy using American built Hoverflys, but the Dragonfly was the first British-built helicopter used by the British Navy.

It was also used by the RAF.

The Navy's first Dragonfly carried out ship-borne trials with the Fort Dusquesne, trials which showed the practicality of the Dragonfly replacing the ship-based amphibians (like the Sea Otter) which had previously been employed.

In total, 72 were built for the Royal Navy.They were used for ship-to-shore communications and as a deck-flying auxiliary aircraft (i.e. standing guard in case of an accident to a fixed-wing aircraft whilst taking off or landing, requiring rapid air-sea rescue). This latter role had previously been carried out by destroyers, so obviously the helicopter was more efficient and economical. Two Dragonflys were issued to every coastal air station, again replacing the Sea Otter in the air-sea rescue role.

The last was delivered in 1953.

Served in Malaya in 1950, in casualty evacuation role. And in 1953, it assisted relief in Holland, when that country experienced massive flooding.

They were replaced gradually by the Whirlwind.

Variants

     

  • HR 1 3-blade rotor of composite material. British Navy. 13 built

  • HR 3 3-blade metal rotor. British Navy, last delivered on 28. September 1953. 50 built.

  • HR 5 9 built. British Navy.

Links

     

Other Dragonfly Pages on the Internet