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XG576/590 CU Westland WS55 Whirlwind Series 3 c/n WA71 - Royal Navy Rescue - PS Aero in Baarlo, Holland - 21 May 2015 Bristow Helicopters

The Westland WS55 Whirlwind Series 3 is a medium-weight multi-role utility helicopter, powered by one 720 shp Bristol Siddeley Gnome 101 turboshaft and accommodating up to 10 passengers and 2 crew. The British built Westland Whirlwind is an extensively developed version of the single piston-engined Sikorsky S-55 also known as the H-19 Chickasaw. In 1951, Westland Aircraft Ltd., Yeovil, imported one American- built example (s/n 55-016), that was registered G-AMHK on 6 February 1951 and was used for demonstration and development flying. Westland Aircraft Ltd. acquired a licence for production of the Sikorsky S-55 in 1952. As the Westland Whirlwind the helicopter was put into production for the Royal Navy and R.A.F. / Army, the first four versions having American piston-engines. These were the Naval H.A.R.1 and Army H.A.R.2 versions withe the Pratt & Whitney R-134-40 engine, with the first Mk.1 flying on 15 August 1953, and the Naval H.A.R.3 with R-1300-3 engine and the Air Force H.A.R.4 with a R-1340-57 engine. With the Whirlwind H.A.R.5 for the Royal Navy, Westland introduced the British Alvis Leonides Major 155 engine, with the first flight of the Whirlwind with this engine on 28 August 1955. The Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm Whirlwinds served primarily in anti-submarine and search and rescue roles. Next to the miltary civil versions were produced, as the WS-55 Series 1 and the WS-55 Series 2 with the R-1340 and Leonides Major engines, respectively. In 1959, the company introduced the Westland Whirlwind Series 3 with a turbine engine supplanting the original piston engine. The Gnome turboshaft-powered Whirlwind Series 3 flew first on 28 February 1959 and was ordered in quantity for R.A.F Transport and Coastal Commands in April 1960 as the Whirlwind H.A.R.10. In addition to new machines of this type, some R.A.F.'s piston-engined have been brought up to H.A.R.10 standards.

On 16 August 1955, the Westland Whirlwind HAR 3 s/n WA71 flew first. On 23 September 1955, the helicopter was delivered to the Royal Navy as XG576. Westland Whirlwind HAR 3 XG576 served with the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm until the helicopter was withdrawn from use in 1967 and sold to Bristow Helicopters. After the sale to Bristow, the Westland Whirlwind HAR 3 underwent a major overhaul and was converted by Bristow engineers at Redhill, to the Westland WS55 Whirlwind Series 3 configuration, with a single 1050 shp Bristol-Siddeley Gnome H1000 turboshaft engine. Next to this the helicopter was converted to a SAR configuration.On 14 december 1970, the helicopter was registered G-AYNP with Bristow Helicopters Ltd., Redhill. In service with Bristow the helicopter was operated as a rescue helicopter on behalf of HM Coastguard. On 10 March 1975, registration G-AYNP was cancelled as exported to South Africa and registered as ZS-HCY. On 18 July 1977, the helicopter was restored as G-AYNP in the UK with Bristow Helicopters Ltd., Redhill. On 27 October 1985, the CofA expired of the G-AYNP which at that time already was withdrawn from use and stored at Redhill. On 14 February 1994, the helicopter was delivered by road from Redhill to the International Helicopter Museum at Weston-Super-Mare. On 22 February 1994, registration G-AYNP was cancelled by the CAA as permanently withdrawn from use. The International Helicopter Museum used the helicopter as an exchange object and traded the helicopter with the Aero Park Brandenburg for another helicopter and so the Westland WS55 Whirlwind Series 3 G-AYNP was moved to Germany. From 1994, the G-AYNP "Cygnus" was part of the outdoor static of the "Aero Park Brandenburg" in Diepensee just South of Berlin-Schönefeld. The museum was not really a succes and closed its doors in 1999. As the grounds of the museum were neaded for the new Berlin Airport, the owners of the failed "Aero Park Brandenburg" had to evacuate the more than 100-acre site before 2002. Westland WS55 Whirlwind Series 3 G-AYNP was sold to Verlag Druckerei Medienvertrieb Heinz Nickel in 2000 and put on display for their office in Zweibrücken. In 2006, the helicopter was sold to Sammler- und Hobbywelt in Alten-Buseck. By the end of the year the helicopter was restored and repainted in basic Royal Navy colors. In 2007, Royal Navy XG576 and Rescue titles were applied and the helicopter was put on display as a Westland Whirlwind H.A.R.9 Culdrose SAR flight helicopter. In January 2015, the XG576 was added to the collection of PS Aero, the aviation collection of Autobedrif Piet Smedts, and transported to Baarlo in the Netherlands. On 21 May 2015, the Westland WS55 Whirlwind Series 3 'XG576/590 CU' "Princess Olivia" was seen at the front of PS Aero in Baarlo.

page last updated: 25-06-2015
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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