The RAF used versions of the Sycamore 3 and Sycamore 4.
The RAF used the HC.12 for SAR work with 22 Squadron during 1955. This, together with the winch-equipped HR.13 was based on the Bristol 171 Mk3.
The majority of RAF Sycamores were based on the Mk4 and entered service as the 4 door Sycamore HR.14.
The first Sycamores for the RAF were delivered to 275 Squadron in Cyprus in April 1953. 194 Squadron in Malaya was next to equip in 1954 and this eventually revealed a weakness with the all-wooden main rotor blades in this hot and humid environment. Following a crop of accidents (eg XE319
) in 1959, the fleet was grounded from Apr until Feb 1960 when the blades were coated with a moisture resistant sealant and rotor tip weights added to reduce vibration. Sycamores served in trouble spots such as Kenya and Aden and performed a variety of support duties and rescue operations in addition to liaison work.
Most Sycamores had been retired from active duty by the autumn of 1964. They were still used at the Central Flying School until mid 1966, finally being withdrawn from 32 Squadron in 1972.