Del'd: 26 - 1960 to 1969

Royal Air Force Belvedere

First heavy lift and tandem rotor helicopter for the British armed services. Delivered initially to the Belvedere Trials Unit at RAF Odiham (EGVO) in 1960, and after about a year it entered operational service in Sep 1961 as the Belvedere HC.1. The fleet was grounded between Aug and Sep 1962 following an accident in Germany (which was ultimately caused by a design failure in the cockpit ergonomics).

It had a reputation for unreliable engine starters, which gave trouble throughout most if its operational life and the laminated rotor blades were prone to distintegration during flight. A rectification programme saw it give service in the UK, the Middle East (where dust abrasion of the rotor blades was also problematic) and Far East.

It was never hugely successful and was eventually withdrawn in Mar 1969. It did however serve a heavy lift requirement and it was to be 1980 and two false starts later, before the RAF took delivery of the Chinook HC.1 to replace the Belvedere.

I remember using this aircraft on survey operations in Aden in the early 60s. I thought there were some mechanical issues there and ( possibly) an accident. I know they were grounded as my party were "marooned" on a fairly inhospitable and hostile area until "rescued" by the Army Air Corp via scouts.
Seven Belvederes served with 26 Squadron in Aden, Yemen. Two were destroyed in crashes in which 3 crew were killed and 3 were injured. A third aircraft was severely damaged when a starter motor blew up on start up and had to be returned to the Westland factory for a complete rebuild.

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Construction Numbers Help Us

C/NModBuiltID     In this OrganisationIn other Org

    13342 1958     XG447: Single prototype airframe ff 5 Jul 1958 at Bristol's Wes+
    13343 1959     XG448: RAF
    13344 1959     XG449: RAF 72 Sqdn; went to 66 sqdn; broken up 1969 Seletar
    13345 1960     XG450: RAF
    13346 1960     XG451: RAF
    13347 1960     XG452: RAF Belvedere Type 192 HC.1; 24jul93 pictured preserved at I+
- G-BRMB: xfer UK Civil register as G-BRMB, pres as XG452
    13348 1960     XG453: RAF
    13349 1960     XG454: 7th pre-production airframe dd 17 Oct 1960. Belvedere Trials+
    13350 1963     XG455: RAF Belvedere HC.1 d/d 15feb63; 16mar69 soc and scr at No+
    13351 1960     XG456: RAF
    13352 1961     XG457: RAF
    13353 1961     XG458: RAF
    13354 1961     XG459: RAF
    13355 1961     XG460: RAF
    13356 1960     XG461: RAF; w/o 31dec64
    13357 1961     XG462: RAF; preserved (nose) at Weston-Super-Mare helicopter museum
    13358 1961     XG463: del RAF as Belvedere HC.1, XG463, 03Nov61; w/o 30Oct64.
    13359 1961     XG464: del RAF as Belvedere HC.1 XG464, 06Dec61; soc and scr at No.+
    13360 1961     XG465: del RAF as Belvedere HC.1 XG465, 06Dec61; w/o 30Jul62.
    13361 1962     XG466: del RAF as Belvedere HC.1 XG466, 10Jan62; soc and scr at No+
    13362 1962     XG467: del RAF as Belvedere HC.1 XG467, 08Mar62; soc and scr at No+
    13363 1962     XG468: del RAF as Belvedere HC.1 XG468, 20Feb62; w/o 25Jan68; soc a+
    13364 1962     XG473: del RAF as Belvedere HC.1 XG473, 29May62; w/o 04May63.
    13365 1962     XG474: del RAF as Belvedere HC.1 XG474, 08Jun62; soc 20Mar69; pres +
    13366 1962     XG475: del RAF as Belvedere HC.1 XG475, 10May62; w/o 05Dec63; soc a+
    13367 1962     XG476: del RAF as Belvedere HC.1 XG476, 11Oct62; soc and scr at No.+

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