Westland - Sikorsky Dragonfly

Contributed by Yorkshire Air Museum

Westland - Sikorsky Dragonfly

The American designed Sikorsky S-51 was the world's first successful helicopter. It was built under licence in Britain by Westland Aviation, and named as the Dragonfly. The first production example flew on 5th October 1948. It served with the Royal Navy in an aircrew recovery role, a task until then performed by a full vessel. Others went to the Royal Air Force to form Britain's first frontline helicopter Squadron.
WS Dragonfly WH991 to be found at the Yorkshire Air Museum first flew on 4th February 1953. It served on HMS Illustrious, HMS Centaur and later went to Trinidad where it served with the survey vessel HMS Vidal. In 1960, it returned to England to 700 Squadron at Yoevilton, and finally to 705 Squadron at Culdrose. In 1994, it was found as scrap by Yorkshire Air Museum volunteer, Ray McElwain, who restored it to static display condition.It is a superb example of an important aircraft in British aviation history.

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