The Bristol Belvedere

#1
Lately been reading a bit about Britain's post war aircraft industry - sad bastard, I know - and the aircraft they produced. Aside from being rather depressing in parts its thrown up some classic examples of military procurement mysteries, one glaring example being the Bristol Belvedere. Having a quick poke around the Internet the majority of people seem to be of the opinion that it was fairly crap both in design and operation although there seems to be a minority that say it was well liked by users and actually pretty good. Doubt we have any resident members that were active back then but people are fairly knowledgeable and well read so thought I'd ask what it was really like? The Navy seems to of turned their noses up at it right off the bat and the RAF seem to of gotten rid of it fairly sharpish as well.

Just looking at it in comparison to the Americans CH-47 Chinook which first flew and was introduced on a year or two later it certainly seems to come off a very distant second. If it was as bad as some people make out how did Britol manage to bugger things up so well? Stories of fires when starting the thing via AVPIN or having to use a pole with a nail through it seem common but I wonder how apocryphal they are, what with ex-service members never being known to tell a tall tale or two. :)
 
P

PrinceAlbert

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#2
There was a TV documentary on the Bristol Belvedere. It was on TV a few months back. For some reason I just sat and watched it. I'd never heard of it before.

Apparently it was quite ground breaking, but a bit of a flop.
 
#3
There was a TV documentary on the Bristol Belvedere. It was on TV a few months back. For some reason I just sat and watched it. I'd never heard of it before.

Apparently it was quite ground breaking, but a bit of a flop.
I think there is a Belvedere in the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry.
 
#4
Lately been reading a bit about Britain's post war aircraft industry - sad bastard, I know - and the aircraft they produced. Aside from being rather depressing in parts its thrown up some classic examples of military procurement mysteries, one glaring example being the Bristol Belvedere. Having a quick poke around the Internet the majority of people seem to be of the opinion that it was fairly crap both in design and operation although there seems to be a minority that say it was well liked by users and actually pretty good. Doubt we have any resident members that were active back then but people are fairly knowledgeable and well read so thought I'd ask what it was really like? The Navy seems to of turned their noses up at it right off the bat and the RAF seem to of gotten rid of it fairly sharpish as well.

Just looking at it in comparison to the Americans CH-47 Chinook which first flew and was introduced on a year or two later it certainly seems to come off a very distant second. If it was as bad as some people make out how did Britol manage to bugger things up so well? Stories of fires when starting the thing via AVPIN or having to use a pole with a nail through it seem common but I wonder how apocryphal they are, what with ex-service members never being known to tell a tall tale or two. :)
I seem remember that its gawky stance was to allow it to carry a torpedo for the fishead version. fancy having a shipboard heliocoptor without folding motors. the belvedere in the Manchester science and techanalogy museum is impressive in a strange sort of way.
 
#6
There was a TV documentary on the Bristol Belvedere. It was on TV a few months back. For some reason I just sat and watched it. I'd never heard of it before.
Interesting, you don't happen to remember which channel it was do you?


I seem remember that its gawky stance was to allow it to carry a torpedo for the fishead version. Fancy having a shipboard heliocoptor without folding motors. The Belvedere in the Manchester Science and Techanalogy Museum is impressive in a strange sort of way.
The story I heard was that the Ministry of Supply or someone like them unrelated to the Andrew put out the initial operational requirement without bothering to check or realise whether the size of the thing would allow it to fit through the lifts of the aircraft carriers or have folding rotors, the naval types took one look at them and laughed it out of the room. So it got shuffled off to the RAF where the raised fron for torpedoes wasn't needed and simply became an opportunity for the pilots to break an ankle if they had to debus fast.
 
#7
Interesting, you don't happen to remember which channel it was do you?



The story I heard was that the Ministry of Supply or someone like them unrelated to the Andrew put out the initial operational requirement without bothering to check or realise whether the size of the thing would allow it to fit through the lifts of the aircraft carriers or have folding rotors, the naval types took one look at them and laughed it out of the room. So it got shuffled off to the RAF where the raised fron for torpedoes wasn't needed and simply became an opportunity for the pilots to break an ankle if they had to debus fast.
Committee's have got a lot to answer for
 
#10
I seem remember that its gawky stance was to allow it to carry a torpedo for the fishead version. fancy having a shipboard heliocoptor without folding motors. the belvedere in the Manchester science and techanalogy museum is impressive in a strange sort of way.
By chance, just flicked through an old engineering drawing textbook today.

Contains an example of perspective drawing based on a "Type 191 Helicopter for A/S operations"

Looks very similar to the Belvedere, except rear fins angled upwards at 40 degrees. Other dimensions stated are overall length 50' 2.68" and rotors centre to centre 38' 9.2" Fairly precise for a general arrangement drawing!

Book dated 1966 and gives acknowledgement to Westland Aircraft Company.
 
#11




The Belverdere at Manchester.
Panasonic compact camera, in poor lighting conditions.
and



A Sycamore in slightly better light.

john
and Brick nothing wrong with being a sad bastard, on this forum.
 
#13
View attachment 159394 I am tired of reading how bad the Belvedere was,if it had been allowed to develop, as many other pieces of military equipment, it would have emerged as a world beater. The stick and nail,no way Jose, Standing on the the ladder outside the cockpit oh yes, when they were going to go tits up you could hear the graunch coming.Some of the fastest moving jockeys in the Air force on Belvederes,doing starter crew one time I heard the noise, turned to the guy on fire bottles to say "I don't like the sound of that and found the pilot stood behind me agreeing.This is what could happen.But why do we only remember the bad?
 

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#16
I recall they were in use during the Borneo Confrontation. Flew in it a couple of times and it was used to resupply the forward locations. Don.t recall any problems. I'm pretty sure a Belvedere lifted a broken-down Sioux to take it back to Kuching. It was famous for airlifting the spire onto the new Coventry Cathedral, which event was well-reported at the time.
 
#17
I recall they were in use during the Borneo Confrontation. Flew in it a couple of times and it was used to resupply the forward locations. Don.t recall any problems.
There was one that crashed in Borneo killing the crew. Some time after, an SAS patrol member found a key component part which greatly assisted the accident investigation board.
 
#18
There was one that crashed in Borneo killing the crew. Some time after, an SAS patrol member found a key component part which greatly assisted the accident investigation board.
Just read up on that. It occurred in '63. We got to Malacca in '64 then Borneo1 in '65. Interesting though.
 
#19
Just read up on that. It occurred in '63. We got to Malacca in '64 then Borneo1 in '65. Interesting though.

Before my time. I just know the gent who found the part, hence my post.
 
#20
I remember seeing a Belvedere at an airshow banging it's nose on the grass several times before 'landing' safely when the front rotor appeared to fail. No idea where...
We did drop from a Belvedere at El Adem in Libya. It seemed OK then; but as an aside, one member of the stick (he was known as Tiny C****r) took about fifteen minutes to land. Every time he got near the ground he'd catch a thermal and shoot up 30-40 feet. Then he'd spill air and drop, catch a thermal...
 
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