Steam Powered Helicopters at the Helicopter Museum
Two unique helicopters arrived at the Helicopter Museum in Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset, England for restoration and display
Helicopter Museum, July 20, 2017 - Two unique helicopters, developed to use high grade hydrogen peroxide and a silver catalyst chemical reaction to create high pressure steam driving the rotor system, arrived at the Helicopter Museum on 19th July for restoration and display.
The aircraft, a single seat Dragonfly DF.1 and two seat Atlas, had their origins in a 1950-60s US military project to help downed airmen escape from enemy territory, by parachuting a foldable helicopter that could be assembled and then flown to safety.
The two examples donated to the museum were last seen in public at the Farnborough Air Show in 1998 and then "disappeared" and have only recently been rediscovered in storage in Surrey.
Following discussions, the owner agreed to donate them to the Helicopter Museum and they were collected by volunteers.
Chairman of THM trustees, Elfan Ap Rees said today, "These two helicopters are quite unique and represent a completely new strand of rotary wing development not represented in the collection. Today, the use of high grade 95% H2O2 is banned due to its volatile nature, so the story behind this development is especially interesting to engineers and others interested in rotorcraft history."
Both aircraft will now be rebuilt in the museum's restoration facility which welcomes applications from new volunteers to assist in the work being carried out. Interested applicants should contact Mark Service at the museum or email him at [email protected]
The Helicopter Museum is a registered charity and home to the world’s largest dedicated rotorcraft collection including two aircraft of the Queen’s Royal Flight.
The Dragonfly DF.1 acquired is the former US registered N8186E, serial 0002, which became G-BXZN in 1998 before the registration was cancelled in 2005.
The Atlas is a composite airframe, using the main fuselage of uncompleted serial 03, one time allocated the French registration F-WGTZ, and the tail boom of serial 01, flown as F-WGTX.