Somerset

"Flying Banana" helicopter restoration work under way

A "Flying Banana" twin rotor helicopter on the back of a lorry Image copyright Helicopter Museum
Image caption The shell of the "Flying Banana" has been brought to the helicopter museum in Weston for restoration

Work to restore a twin rotor helicopter nicknamed the "Flying Banana" because of its unusual kinked fuselage has begun.

The Piasecki H-21 Workhorse design ensured the rotors at opposite ends of the aircraft did not clash.

It was developed from a prototype which was powered by a surplus Wright Cyclone engine from Flying Fortress bombers.

A spokesman for the Helicopter Museum in Weston-super-Mare said the H-21 is the first of its type in the UK.

Image copyright AIRTEAMIMAGES.COM
Image caption The helicopter earned its nickname because of its unusual kinked fuselage shape

The helicopter, serial number FR41, was built in Pennsylvania for the French Army Air Force and saw action in Algiers in 1956 during the civil war.

Image copyright AIRTEAMIMAGES.COM
Image caption The H-21 "Flying Banana" will eventually go on display inside the museum alongside another famous twin rotor helicopter, the Bristol Belvedere

Once the restoration is complete it will go on display alongside another famous twin rotor helicopter, the Bristol Belvedere, which was built at Weston in 1960.

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