Saunders Roe Skeeter
united kingdom Army Air Corps

Del'd: 67 - 1958 to 1967

The Skeeter AOP.12 was introduced to Army Air Corps service in Oct 1958 and within weeks was in trouble. As well as revealing itself as underpowered - throughout its service life - it was grounded several times during its early career with a series of faults including excess vibration, problems with the cooling fans, snapping fan belts, overheating cylinders and difficulties with the undercarriage.
By about 1961, most of these teething troubles had been overcome but it had diverted a lot of engineering and maintenance attention at the expense of flying experience. Despite this, and the decision of the Ministry of Aviation in Mar 1960 to abandon further attempts to improve its performance, it was highly manoueverable and generally loved by those who flew it. However, much was learned through the Skeeter and it contributed a great deal to the development of both British Army flying doctrine and the tactical use and requirements of helicopters in the field. By Mar 1961, 4 Flight (Hildesheim) had become the first unit to be completely equipped with the Skeeter.
The Skeeter was ordered between 1956 and 1959 and was delivered in 4 batches from 1958 until Sep 1960. Three AOP.10s were built, of which the last was converted to AOP.12 standard before it left the line at East Cowes, followed by the delivery of AOP.12s from Jun 1958, Apr 1959 and Dec 1959.  They served worldwide, although never with great success where it was hot or high, or both. The Skeeter also served in Northern Ireland between 1960 and Aug 1966, before the type was finally retired from the AAC in 1967.

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YearsUnitsbold : Current base of the Unit
1969/    Historic Aircraft Flight AAC Middle Wallop
1962/6416 FltMY Kuching
1958/??1 Flt
19566 Flt

List of Aircraft

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C/NModBuiltID     In this OrganisationIn other Org

S2/7154 1960     8024M: Jul 1968 to RAF Binbrook as G I Airframe, until c Jun / Jul +
S2/5066 1958     XL735: AOP.12 to British Army May 1958
S2/5067 1958     XL736: AOP.12 built by Saunders Roe, del Aug 1958.
- XL736: held privately at Moordrecht; Holzerlingen, nr Stuttga+

stored at IHM Weston-super-Mare, May 2011. Still there +
S2/5069 1958     XL738: AOP.12 del AAC Sep 1958; HTF; 651 Sq
S2/5071 1958     XL739: AOP.12 Built by Saunders Roe del AAC Sep 1958
S2/5074 1958     XL762: AOP.12. Appeared at 1958 SBAC Farnborough Air Show, dd AAC S+
Museum of Flight, East Fortune XL762: Acquired by Museum of Flight, 1975. Still present 2013+
S2/5075 1958     XL763: AOP.12 del AAC Sep 1958; 2 Div; 654 Sq; Air Troop 15/19 Huss+
s2/5076 1958     XL764: dd Sep 1958 to Eastleigh and on to Army Air Corps at Middle +
Newark (Notts & Lincs) Air Museum XL764: Sold in 1975 and displayed at Nostell Priory.

To Newark Air Museum in Jul 1980, where it wears the co+

18Jun05 pictured at Newark Air Museum
S2/5078 1958     XL765: 651 Sq 2 Feb 1959; trials at Middle Wallop between Jul and O+
- XL765: Saunders Roe, ff 19 Sep 1958
S2/5085 1958     XL769: Del Army Dec 1958
- G-BDNS: Restoration believed incomplete. Reg G-BDNS Jan 1976, c+
S2/5086 1958     XL770: AOP.12 Del AAC Dec 1958.
S2/5094 1959     XL809: AAC Skeeter AOP.12 unk to PH-SRE
- PH-SRE: ex XL809 unk to PH-HOF

- PH-HOF: ex PH-SRE 03may84 to G-BLIX


- XL809: G-BLIX, to Sywell Oct 1988 in airworthy condition
S2/5095     XL810: while with 9 Flight in Germany, hit power cables, crashed a+
S2/5096 1959     XL811: to AAC. 651 Sq, 652 Sq, 17 Flt., Air Troop 9/12 Lancers. w/o+
- XL811: to Northern Aircraft Preservation Society Dec 1968

to Historic Aircraft Museum, Southend 1972 until c May +

to International Helicopter Museum, W-s-M Sep 1992. Sti+
S2/5097 1962     XL812: AAC Skeeter AOP12 d/d 13mar59; to G-SARO
- G-SARO: to Blackpool for restoration to flying condition, compl+

UK private Jul78-Nov00; Nov00-Apr10

Reg Canx by CAA 14apr10
S2/5098     XL813: to Army Historic Aircraft Flight by 1978
S2/5099     XL814: AAC Skeeter AOP12 d/d 06mar59; AAC Historic Flight; 2013 pre+
S2/5103 1959     XM527: AOP.12 for AAC.
S2/5107     XM553: Skeeter AOP.12; preserved at Yorkshire Air Museum, England
- G-AWSV: ex XM553

to G-AWSV Oct 1968; visited Farnborough Air Show 1972
S2/5109 1959     XM555: Skeeter AOP.12 d/d 14jul59; to 8027M; on display at NELSAM,+
S2/5110 1959     XM556: to 7870M. Subsequently fitted with boom of XM529 / 7979M.
- XM556: painted in German colours as SC+117 and exhibited at Ga+
S2/5112 1959     XM557: AOP.12 built by Saunders Roe, del Jul 1959.
- XM557: held privately at Moordrecht Oct 1969; Holzerlingen, nr+

stored at IHM Weston-super-Mare, Jan 2011. Still there +
S2/5116 1959     XM561: ff Sep1959. to Army Oct 1959.
S2/5119 1958     XM564: dd Dec 1959 to Army Air Corps; 652 Sq, CFS, 12 Flt, 652 Sq, +
- XM564: 25jun16 at Bovington Tank Museum, Vehicle Conservation +
S2/7147 1960     XN341: dd Feb 1960 to AAC. 651 Sq, Air Troop 3 RTR, soc c 1970
Royal Air Force XN341: arr 4 SoTT as 8022M at St Athan by Dec 1971, until sold+

- XN341: To Stondon Transport Museum, Lower Stondon, since at le+

13/21 Sep15 for sale on Ebay from seller in Shrewsbury,+

Stands on a roof of a dumpstore in Maasbracht, Holland +
S2/7150     XN344: 652 Sq; 654 Sq
S2/7151 1960     XN345: AOP.12 built by Saunders Roe, del Mar 1960.
- XN345: held privately at Moordrecht Oct 1969; Holzerlingen, nr+

stored at IHM Weston-super-Mare, Jan 2011. Still there +
S2/7154 1960     XN348: AOP.12 Del AAC Jun 1960
S2/7157 1960     XN351: 651 Sq, 652 Sq, 3 RTR Air Troop, Wroughton, Shuttleworth Col+
Torbay Aircraft Museum XN351: on loan to Torbay Aircraft Museum May 1971. Still there+

to Wales Aircraft Museum 1980, to G-BKSC reg 13 Dec 199+

Preserved in Norwich area by Jan 2014, still in Jan 201+