North East Aircraft Museum      

Westland Whilwind of NEAM The North East Aircraft Museum's Whirlwind is a HAR 9, a turbine-powered variant. To be more precise, it was built originally as a HAS 7 piston-engined version, but later upgraded. Whereas the original variants had been designed for "non-combat" duties (air-sea resue, communications etc), the HAS 7 had been designed to operate in an anti-submarine role and incorporated radar especially for this purpose, and strike weapons (the first type of helicopter built for this type of work).

Sikorsky S-55


As the Sikorsky S-55 which first flew in 1951, this aircraft could be described as the 'first really useful helicopter' and was used for troop transport, SAR, airlift and communication roles.

The novelty of its design lay in the location of the power unit in the nose of the fuselage. It was designed to carry up to 10 troops or 8 stretcher cases.

The prototype first flew in November 1949.

nicknamed Chickasaw by the US Army, and saw some service in Korea.

Sikorsky produced over 1000 machines, and over 500 were built under license. Westland exported over 100 machines - to the following countries : Austria, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, France, Ghana, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Yugoslavia.



Westland Whirlwind

The British Navy acquired 25 American-built S-55s in 1950, and after evaluation of these aircraft, Westland acquired a license to build the helicopter in Britain in November 1950. Westland gave the name Whirlwind to their aircraft.

The license -built Westland Whirlwind HAR1 first flew on 15. August 1953 and was delivered to 705 squadron soon after (the Navy had, in fact, previously acquired a few American S-55s in 1952). It was later also adopted by the Air Force and Army.

In November 1952???, it was delivered to 705 Squadron of the British Navy.???

First operational helicopter squadron No. 848. In November 1952 until 20. March 1953, saw action in Malaya.

A new lease of life was given to the aircraft when a turbine-engined version was produced, entering RAF service in 1961. Subsequently the Navy's piston-engined HAS7 was re-fitted with turbine engines to produce the HAR9 (Helicopter Air Rescue).

The Westland version is still in service in Brazil, and was also supplied to Nigeria and Qatar.

In 1952, it became the first rotary-wing transport to be used commercially when it was used by Sabena.



As already explained, this was a turbine-engined conversion of the Mark 7. The first flight was in February 1959.

It incorporated a new nose, offering improved visibility.

It was based mainly at Brawdy and Culdrose, and with HMS Protector on ice patrol duties in the Antartic.

middle of 1966 ???



  • HAR 1 Powered by Pratt and Whitney Wasp. Entered the British Navy in 1952.
  • HAR2 . Introduced into Transport and Coastal Commands, RAF in February 1955.
  • HAR 3 Powered by the Wright Cyclone. Entered the British Navy 1953.
  • HAR4 Tropicalized version for the RAF. Used in Malaysia.
  • HAR 5 First flew on 28. August 1955. The first Whirlwind with a British engine, the Alvis Leonides Major.
  • HAS 7 Designed for anti-submarine role. First flew on 17. October 1956 and delivered from June 1957 and gradually replaced the Gannet in the anti-submarine role. 120 built.
  • HAR 9 turbine-engined variant
  • HAR 10 RAF version of the HAR. 9 built. Into RAF 1960???



Just stumbled on the Whirlwind page. In your list you have forgotten my old Whirlwinds

  • the HCC10, a VIP conversion of the HAR10. 32 Squadron flew 4 of these from Northolt back in the seventies.
  • We also had the surviving HCC12. This was one of two originally operated by HM the Queen's Flight. They were based on the civil version and could be distinguished visually by the extra panels in the cabin windows. Lovely to see old aircraft so well looked after, congratulation. Frank Bowron


I stumbled across your site whilst investigating the machines that my late father flew. I thought that the following might be of interest to you.On November 6th 1956 my father, Lieutenant M C Rusling, flew a series of sorties in what his log book refers to as a Whirlwind 22 of 845 squadron to Port Said carrying marines of 45 commando for an assault on installations there. He was always adamant that this was the first true helicopter borne assault in history pre-dating U S efforts in South East Asia by many years.

Log No 1 Log No 2

Regards SM Rusling