Back Bristol Type 191/192 "Belvedere"
1958

Bristol Type 191/192 "Belvedere"

The Bristol 173 was the first helicopter specifically designed for commercial operation and passenger transport in particular. The first prototype, which flew on 3 January 1952, was powered by two 520hp Alvis Leonides engines and could carry ten passengers. The tandem rotors were identical to those of the Bristol 171 "Sycamore". Trials were carried out with this aircraft in 1953, from the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle. The second prototype was similar to the first but was modified to test the characteristics and effects of two stub wings and later a four-bladed rotor. The Bristol 173 Mk.3, of which three were built, with capacity increased to 16 seats and Alvis Leonides Major engines, was offered to BEA.

Unfortunately, none of these aircraft succeeded in overcoming a series of developmental problems and subsequent projects undertaken by Bristol — models 191 and 193 — in response to Royal Navy and Canadian naval specifications were no more successful. However the Type 192, the prototype of which flew on 5 July 1958, was adopted by the RAF. In the initial configuration, this aircraft had a purely manual system of control and wooden rotor blades but power controls and metal blades were standardized on the fifth prototype built in 1960. That year, three pre-production aircraft were assigned to the RAF for a series of trials for which they were based at Odiham. Twenty-six of these helicopters, called the "Belvedere", were ordered and used for some years for military transport, not only in the United Kingdom, but also in the Middle and Far East. The "Belvedere" was withdrawn from service in March 1969.

The production Bristol 192s had an all-metal, skinned fuselage and an anhedral tailplane, compared with the dihedral one of the Type 173. The two rotors had four metal blades and the front wheels of the fixed quadricycle landing gear were self-castoring. The helicopter's maximum capacity was 30 seats or 2700kg internal payload. The instrumentation also permitted night flying.

G.Apostolo "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Helicopters", 1984

Bristol Belvedere HC.1 hauling a Bloodhound missile

Bristol 191

Ship-based development of Type 173 with modified fuselage, u/c etc. Three built but only used for static test.

Bristol 192

Production version of Model 191 for RAF use with two cabin windows only, starboard cargo hatch, cargo hoist beneath fuselage, large anhedralled tailplane and powered by two 1465shp Napier Gazelle turboshafts. Prot. XG447 FF 5 Jul. 1958. 26 built.

Bristol Type 191/192 "Belvedere"

In July 1958 the Bristol 192 made its maiden flight and this marked the successful climax to the development of the 173. As the Westland Belvedere this entered service with the Royal Air Force, though this was only after the 191 and 193 had been cancelled by the RAF and Royal Canadian Air Force respectively. The 192 was powered by two Napier Gazelle Series 2 engines derated to 920shp.

As the 192C it was tested by BEA and offered its 24 passengers a unique high-speed service between London and Paris.

On May 30, 1961, C T D Hosegood flew from London to Paris in 1 hour 41 min 28 sec and on June 2, 1961, from Paris to London in 1 hour 40 mm 55 sec. This is the equivalent of 202.32km/h outwards and 203.51 km/h on the return flight.

Bill Gunston "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Commercial Aircraft", 1980

Bristol Type 191/192 "Belvedere"

FACTS AND FIGURES

- The first Belvedere suffered noise and stability problems - rectified by redesigning the rotor hubs and tailplane.

- On 24 August 1952 the prototype for the Belvedere series made its maiden flight.

- The prototype was demonstrated at the Farnborough air show in September 1952.

- British European Airways leased a Belvedere briefly but never used it in commercial service.

- The first production aircraft with Gazelte engines made its initial flight in July 1958.

- The Belvedere had a long career, ending its RAF service in March 1969.


Technical data for Bristol "Belvedere" HC.1

Engine: 2 x Napier Gazelle N.Ga.2 turboshafts, rated at 1092kW, rotor diameter: 14.91m, length with rotors turning: 27.36m, height: 5.26m, max take-off weight: 9072kg, empty weight: 5277kg, max cruising speed: 222km/h, service ceiling: 5275m, range with 2722kg payload: 122km

Comments1-20 21-40 41-60
Kenneth B.Potter, e-mail, 14.03.2017reply

26 squadron aden The Belvedere this A /C had many tech issues it was the most dangerious a /c I have ever worked on.
And Jan G if you want to talk please get in touch.

francis drake, e-mail, 19.01.2017reply

i was at the filton air display in 1956 when a twin rotor helicopter crashed
i had a very clear view of the crash which was due to it taking of behind a heavy cargo plane and its associated turbulence not in my view due to pilot or the aircraft

Bill Newton, e-mail, 15.01.2017reply

I did the blade tracking course at Odiham and went to Singapore during confrontation. I am writing a small piece about my experiences in Seletar and Borneo. I made some good friends and thought the aircraft was a masterpiece of design and only spoilt by MOD lack of commitment.

David LLoyd, e-mail, 13.12.2016reply

I am Archivist for RAF Seletar Association and I am trying obtain photo of the 12 Belvederes formation in Singapore.

Jan G, e-mail, 09.06.2016reply

I am trying to contact any one who knew Fl Lt William (Bill) Smith who died in a Belvedere crash while part of 26 Squadron at Kormasher in Oct 1963. I was only 1 year old so would love to hear any stories etc about his time in the RAF

barry saxton., e-mail, 24.01.2016reply

I was serving hm forces germany 1960 /62.one of myself tasks was photography. In Jun 62,at paderborn I was recording picture's of J Belvedere,lifting large rocket cases.The exercise was a completely success.A trip round in it was with out event and enjoyable.I was Very upset by it crashing. B.

John Pattinson, e-mail, 16.09.2015reply

I was one of the first members on the BTU at Odiham. I have
read many comments on the Belvedere but i wonder in 1961 we
did an attachment to the USAF Station, Weathersfield nr Stansted,we were engaged onflying dignatorys during the CND demos. The yanks looked after us all quite wee.Good attachment

Richard arnold, e-mail, 05.08.2015reply

I was known as "dago" and served on 26 Sqdn at Odiham and Khormakser 62 -65 . Many memories of the the "flying locust" . Happy to share. Get in touch. Clive Leach if you read this you owe me a fiver!

Ronald Jones, e-mail, 30.07.2015reply

I wonder if anyone can help me with the Serial No of a Belvedere that was carried on passage on the Deck of HMS EAGLE, I served on the EAGLE 1964 to 1966, it would be during this time. Sorry for being so vague, I have managed to record the Serial Nos of all the other Aircraft on board during my time on her, I am only too happy to help anyone who requires any info during this time period.

Reg Austin, e-mail, 25.03.2014reply

I was a member of the design team under Raoul Hafner at Bristol Helicopters. People confuse the Type 173 and Type 192, Belvedere. The Belvedere was of almost twice the 10,000lb All Up Weight of the 173. The 173 was scheduled to have 2 Bristol Janus, 800 bhp engines but UK government stopped their development. With the temporary installation of two Alvis Leonides piston engines of only 550 bhp, the aircraft was underpowered and so, understandably, BEA cancelled their order for them.
The Belvedere was initially designed to use a Rover Neptune APU to start the engines and run ground services but the government again interfered and insisted, much against our advice, on our using the Av Pin starters for the 1,650 shp Napier Gazelles. It was these which caused the explosions which caused the two crashes of the Belvederes and loss of life. Sadly inept interference by technology-ignorant government officials finally killed off the British Industry and resulted in so many of our experienced aircraft people joining USA, French and German companies from whom we now import our aircraft!

Dodger Noonan, e-mail, 29.01.2013reply

During an exercise in Malaysia in 1966-67, Belvederes were tasked to move Landrovers and guns of 'A' Field Battery, RAA. One of these Belvederes had an engine blow up (literally, quite a loud bang). I was doing air traffic control liaison at the time and heard the pilot say "We've lost an engine, have to drop the load", and he released the underslung Landrover which pancaked from about 200 feet onto a flat piece of ground. The Belvedere landed safely, but the Landrover was flattened down to about 2 feet high. Wheels were horizontal, radio batteries were through the floor, radios were through the top of the batteries, not much was salvageable. We told the driver it was a "Member To Pay" event as he was responsible for the Landrover. Wish I could have recorded his response.

Ian Wilson, e-mail, 27.08.2014reply

See earlier message, however e-mail address has changed. If Alex Crawford reads this and is still looking for info concerning maintenance at Kuching or in the field on ops eg.Simmangang and Sibu during the Confrontation. Putting fires out during engine start Avpin and cartridge system. Looking back thank goodness a war with no bbc or cnn around. We got on with the job in hand, non of the - please sir can we shoot back. Never had use my skills with the SLRs etc. Ian

Alex Crawford, e-mail, 15.09.2013reply

I am gathering material for a book on the Belvedere HC1 helicopter. I would like to hear from anyone who flew or maintained these helicopters in the field. Any help would be appreciated.

David Hardiman, e-mail, 10.02.2021 Alex Crawford

Did you ever finish the Belvedere book?
If so can you send me details please.
I worked on them for two years in Aden, Singapore and Borneo 1964 to 1966

Regards
David

reply

John Edwards, e-mail, 30.08.2010reply

I can go back a little further than you service men.
I first met the Belvedere when it was still a pile of parts on the bench in Westlands at Weston super Mare.
My first task, together with my companion fitter, was to construct the most complex piece, known as station 0, that was the main mounting for the front undercarriage and the nose joint.
It took a few months and numerous trips to the drawing office but as it was the prototype thats not surprising.
I went on to do lots of different parts including I put the floor in every single one of the 26 aircraft thats a lot of rivets.
I moved then to the development department and built the first pilots bubble door, I dont think it was put into production though.
I went on loan to EDL (Electronics Development Laboratory) and built there the slip rings which were mounted on the rotor head for rotor blade strain gauge work and I also mounted instrumentation on the hydraulic jacks in the flying controls to monitor valve movement.
When I joined EDL permanently I balanced all the Rotor synchronizing prop shafts,
Spent many hours watching over the flying controls fatigue rig and doing calibration runs on de-icing jets for rotor blades
The Belvedere was known in the workshops as the Bevelgear

john lewis, e-mail, 15.10.2010reply

I served with 29 commando in borneo and looked after the pad at gunung gajak had many a belvadier ,s aeriel sitting above my head as it only just fitted onto the pad with its tail hanging over the edge of the hill great times

mike wallace, e-mail, 14.01.2011reply

I agree with M Winslow;I have a photo of 11 Belvederes in formation over the Malacca Straits, probably in early 1967.I was on 26 sqdn at Khormaksar(4 /4 /65 to 15 /12 /65)then 4 Belvederes were taken to Seletar on board HMS Bulwark arriving shortly before christmas 1965, to join 66Sqdn.I left 66 Sqdn in July 1967 for the UK, after many happy times and a spell in Kuching to boot!!

Ian Wilson, e-mail, 24.02.2011reply

Finally found more on 66 based at Kuching. I served with 66sqdn exactly the same period as Bill France. 12 months in Kuching was something else.
Must have flown on more than 60 flights, blade tracking etc due to vibrations, flights to Bau Lake, Kapit, Sibu, Simmangang etc. Even put 2 fire out on start up lovely stuff Avpn and carts starting system. Even flew down to the docks took the blades off and 3 days at sea (again) Singapore blades on and flew to Seletar. Final trip was in a DH Heron FM-1024 I think 3,5 to Singapore VIP flight. How time flies,finally stopping work in 2012 after 46 years in aviation. Last asignment is here in the Netherlands working for Martinair Engineering. ps Several test flights to 5000feet now that Belvedere flying Bunny Austin was our CO thru thick and thin with him. Years later whilst at Odiham we met again I ended up on 230 sqdn Pumas he was now a WC.
Ian

Alison Armes, e-mail, 25.03.2011reply

My dad was killed in the crash on 30 /7 /62 his name was Roy Mitchell. I am doing a bit of research on it as it is 50 years next year. If anyone has any information please contact me. Is it true the helicopter had metal fatigue after lifting the spire on Coventry Cathedral?

Jimmy Scott, e-mail, 01.04.2011reply

72 Sqdn at RAF Odiham was my 1st posting after Boy /Entrant training at RAF St Athan. It was a very exciting time in my life. A brand new aircraft and a chance to be a real mechanic. Jesus, we learned fast!! This was no easy task, even a blade change required team work. I learned a lot, very quickly, and thank the Belvedere for giving me an excellent 'foundation' in Airframe skills.

Vic Moulder, e-mail, 27.05.2011reply

My experience with the Belvedere was back in 1962 or 3 whilst being extracted from an operation on the Malay Thai border area by a RAF Belvedere as an Infantryman with 2ND Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, we the best part of our platoon borded and were flying at night over thick jungle in extremely bad weather when we had to make a emergency landing, the skipper to his credit found a clearing, unfortunately it was occupied by a small Kampong [village] we came down pretty hard doing some damage as I can recollect, eventualy we found trucks and were extracted back to base, the word we had back was that the aircraft had run out of fuel, and that the Flt Sgt had not refueled ? anybody out there have any recollections of this incident ?

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