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Bristol Belvedere

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Health and Safety would have a fit

British built tandem-rotor helicopter, designed by either:

  • A Committee
  • Someone who had been on the piss all afternoon before eventually returning to the Drawing Office at Bristols to dream this aeronautical nightmare up.

Used (quite successfully) by the RAF in the 1960s. Although totally gay in appearance, the Belvedere was a useful aircraft. Known as the 'flying longhouse' through use in Borneo - where the appearance of such an amazing machine to Johnny Native caused much striking of awe - and how else would you describe it to the blokes in the other village?

There's an old adage: if it looks right, it'll fly right. You be the judge, but by 1969 the RAF binned them and did quite nicely without another twin-rotor type for another decade or so, when the Chinook came in to service. In all fairness, the Belvedere was loved by those who operated them - and loathed by everyone else who was forced to chance their arm by travelling across vast tracts of jungle or desert in them.

The type gave the RAF their first taste of a heavy lift capability and the miraculous appearance of 25 pounders on mountain tops certainly gave ol' Johnny Arab cause for concern in Aden.

More here: Bristol Belvedere