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World’s Fastest Helicopter Returns to Weston

The World’s Fastest Helicopter returns to The Helicopter Museum at Weston-super-Mare in July, following a four year restoration to its original 1986 World Speed Record configuration by Apprentices at the AgustaWestland factory in Yeovil, Somerset.  This August marks the 25th Anniversary of the Lynx helicopter setting up the new record at an average 400.87kmph (249.1mph).  Coincidentally 2011 is also the 40th Anniversary of the original WG-13 Lynx first flight.

The record-breaking aircraft, identified by its unique registration G-LYNX, was acquired by The Helicopter Museum in 1995 after it had been stripped for spares, following previous modifications and use as an engine testbed.  This had required major alterations to the engine bay and surrounding structure.   Over the next several years museum volunteers found and fitted a number of the missing parts but were unable to de-modify the engine bay to install the original Rolls-Royce Gem 60 power-plants.  World Speed Record

In 2007 Apprentices at the Westland factory volunteered to take the project on and G-LYNX, together with a pair of engines and other salvaged components was relocated to Yeovil, where a team worked to original drawings, photographs and anecdotal evidence to put the helicopter back into its streamlined world record configuration.  Earlier this year the almost completed restoration was moved into the Westland paint shop for repainting in the gloss World Speed Record colour scheme and since then the Apprentices have been refitting the interior, including the unique 400mph airspeed indicator.

Chairman of The Helicopter Museum Trustees, Elfan ap Rees, who witnessed the breaking of the record on the Somerset Levels in 1986 said “The Yeovil apprentices have done a marvellous restoration, with first class attention to detail and are to be congratulated on their perseverance.  Coupled with the fact that it is a British helicopter that has held this official record for the past 25 years, the task now facing the Museum is to ensure that it is displayed in pride of place upon its return”.
G-LYNX is due to be unveiled to the AgustaWestland workforce on 8th July and will return to The Helicopter Museum shortly thereafter.  To celebrate the 25th Anniversary there will be special lecture with guest speakers on Saturday 6th August at 19.00 for 19.30, with G-LYNX as a backdrop, explaining how the aircraft set the record and the speed modifications.
          
Editorial Notes
*Although ‘compound’ helicopters, featuring additional propeller or jet propulsion have gone faster for brief periods, G-LYNX holds the official Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) Absolute Helicopter Speed Record, which requires all the lift and drive to be via the rotor system and a performance that must be sustained in level flight over a 15km course.  Although the official record is for the average speed attained, on one of four runs carried out G-LYNX actually clocked 413km/h (256.58mph).

G-LYNX was temporarily based at the Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet for the record attempt on 11th August 1986 and used the length of the 15.12km (9.4miles)almost straight South Drain across the Somerset Levels south of Highbridge to help pilot Trevor Egginton keep on course.

*Elfan ap Rees is Honorary President of the FAI Rotorcraft Committee and was present at Shepton Mallet during the world record attempt.  He was also instrumental in saving G-LYNX from being scrapped in 1995 and has recently fully researched the history of the aircraft before and after the record breaking flight, including the aerodynamic and other modifications carried out for the record attempt.

*The 6th August lecture will be a special interactive event, at normal admission prices (Adults 6.00, Children 4.50, Senior Citizens 4.50) and an opportunity for the public to witness how G-LYNX took the record and why no-one has been able to beat it for 25 years.  Please put this in your events calendar.

Tickets can be purchased in advance from The Helicopter Museum, The Heliport, Locking Moor Road, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. BS24 8PP.
Tel: 01934 635227.  Email: helimuseum@btconnect.com


 

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