saunders roe skeeter



Model History:

The Skeeter was a light observation and training helicopter produced by Saunders-Roe of Cowes and Southampton. An overly long period of development and lack of engagement with end-users plagued this essentially simple helicopter. It was designed around 1945 at Cierva, initally as the W.14 (with a Jameson 106hp FF-1 engine) then named the Skeeter 1, which first flew on 8 Oct 1948 with a triangular section tail boom. The Skeeter 2 was powered by a de Havilland 145hp Gipsy Major 10 and had a more conventional, circular tail cross-section. It first flew on 15 Oct 1949 but suffered so badly from ground resonance, the single model eventually disintegrated. Enough promise was shown for the UK Ministry of Supply (which procured British Army aircraft at the time) to order two Skeeter 3 airframes - further improved by the 180hp Blackburn Bombardier engine, as a development batch. SARO took over Cierva in Jan 1951 but even this injection of talent (and capital) could not prevent the British Army rejecting the Skeeter 3B, nor the Royal Navy rejecting the Skeeter 4.  Less resonance and more power was required, apparently being met by the Skeeter 5 and then by 1956, the Skeeter 6 (with the 200hp Gipsy Major 201) was available.
The first production unit was the Skeeter 6A for the British Army (as the AOP.10) and the 6B for the RAF (as the dual T.11 trainer). Both had all metal, stressed skins with wooden main blades. The Skeeter finally entered Army Air Corps service in Oct 1958 for reconnaissance and Air OP duties. Westland took over SARO in 1960 and the development of a turbine powered Skeeter with the Blackburn Turmo 603 was abandoned, although the experience was carried forward into the Wasp/Scout programme. After this rationalisation, a project was abandoned in March 1960 to boost its performance with a de Havilland supercharger, in hot and high environments. There were also lift enhancement trials of the Napier Rocket Booster, (a hydrogen peroxide tank mounted in a small tank above the rotor head and nozzles at the rotor tips for the expanding gases, without increasing rotor speed) for tropical operations.
The final variant was the Skeeter 8, which was basically a civilianisation of the Skeeter 7 (essentially the Army Air Corps AOP.12 version) for commercial operations. 3 were built for UK Certificate of Airworthiness tests, but no civil orders were placed and Skeeter production came to an end in 1960.
In Jul 1961, West Germany sold 10 non-airworthy Skeeters to the Portuguese Air Force but Westland subsequently abandoned a project to restore them to flying state.

Derivatives and Versions of this model:

    saro p.531     Development of the Westland Wasp / Scout family was the first general purpose light helicopter project that was completely British. Initiated by ...
The P.531 O/N version was also known by SARO as the H.AS/194D during its shipboard trials, which included suction-cup fittings to undercarriage l ...
    Skeeter 6B     1956 The Skeeter 6B was a dual control variant of the Skeeter 6A. Known as Skeeter T.11 in RAF service. Only 1 built in 1956 as part of an evaluation ...
    westland scout     1960 Developed from the SARO P.531, Westland built two more P.531/2 prototypes at Eastleigh with double the engine power (one with a 1050shp Bristol S ...

Organisations with this Model:

From Organisation with model skeeter
united kingdom UK Government
    7 1950/55
united kingdom Fleet Air Arm
    2 1952
germany Heeresflieger
    6 1958/60
germany Marineflieger
    4 1958/60
united kingdom Army Air Corps
    67 1958/67

united kingdom newark (notts & lincs) air museum ltd.
    1 1980/now

Construction Numbers on database of skeeter or its versions

1Skeeter 6B

Construction Numbers of this Model: Help Us    

Airframes conv to new variant  

C/NBuilt asYearHistory
    S2/3012     Skeeter 6B 1956 Royal Air Force XK479 : built as T.11, ff 2 Jul 1956, dd 18 Dec 1956, CFS 1957,+
    S2/5061 Heeresflieger PC+117 : PF+156 to Portugal, 06.61 Alverca scrapped
    S2/5062 Heeresflieger PC+118 : PF+157 to Portugal, 06.61 Alverca scrapped
    S2/5063 Heeresflieger PC+119 : PF+158 to Portugal, 06.61 Alverca scrapped
    S2/5065 1958 Marineflieger SC+501 : till 1959, 1961 to Portugal, 06.61 Alverca scrapped
    S2/5070 1958 Marineflieger SC+502 : till 1959, 1961 to Portugal, 06.61 Alverca scrapped
    S2/5073 Heeresflieger PC+120 : PF+159 to Portugal, 06.61 Alverca scrapped
    S2/5074 1958 Army Air Corps XL762 : AOP.12. Appeared at 1958 SBAC Farnborough Air Show, dd +
XL762 Museum of Flight, East Fortune : Acquired by Museum of Flight, 1975. Still present 2013+
28sep14 pictured preserved at the National Museum of Fl+
    s2/5076 1958 newark (notts & lincs) air museum ltd. XL764 : dd Sep 1958 to Eastleigh and on to Army Air Corps at Mi+
    S2/5077 Heeresflieger PC+121 : PF+160 to Portugal, 06.61 Alverca scrapped
    S2/5082 Heeresflieger PC+122 : PF+155 to Portugal, 06.61 Alverca scrapped
    S2/5083 1958 Marineflieger SC+503 : till 1959, 1961 to Portugal, 06.61 Alverca scrapped
    S2/5092 1958 Marineflieger SC+504 : till 1959, 1961 to Portugal, 06.61 Alverca scrapped
    S2/5095 Army Air Corps XL810 : while with 9 Flight in Germany, hit power cables, cras+
    S2/5097 Army Air Corps XL812 : AAC Skeeter AOP12 d/d 13mar59; AAC Historic Flight; to +
G-SARO : Jul78-Nov00; From Nov00-
    S2/5099 Army Air Corps XL814 : AAC Skeeter AOP12 d/d 06mar59; AAC Historic Flight; 201+
Jun79 at Greenham Common
    S2/5107 Army Air Corps XM553 : Skeeter AOP.12; preserved at Yorkshire Air Museum, Eng+
G-AWSV : ex XM553
    S2/5119 1958 Army Air Corps XM564 : dd Dec 1959 to Army Air Corps. 652 Sq, CFS, 12 Flt, 652+
    S2/7157 1960 Army Air Corps XN351 : 651 Sq, 652 Sq, 3 RTR Air Troop, Wroughton, Shuttlewort+
XN351 Torbay Aircraft Museum : on loan to Torbay Aircraft Museum May 1971
XN351 : to Wales Aircraft Museum 1980, to G-BKSC reg 13 Dec 199+
    19 C/N found.

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