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The prototypes and first production aircraft

The Type 171 which became the SycamoreThe Bristol Sycamore was a financial success for the company, It was bought up by air forces around the world eager to use this new technology.But the story began with the first prototype flying with the Wasp Junior engine of 450 hp and numbered as VL958, in July 1947. It was a further seven months before the second prototype VL963 flew. At this point the Alvis Leonidas engine at 550 hp was selected and a Mk 2 version with this engine flew in September 1949. Tail Number VW905. This was the day before the big launch and test flight of the Brabazon, which may have been lucky as press coverage was following the Brabazon because on take off the wooden blades of VW905 disintegrated and put the project back some months. New metal blades were used and the aircraft was flown later but several months time had been lost.All the prototypes had been four-seaters but the Mk 3 used a wider fuselage to allow 3 people on the rear seat. The Mk 3 was the first production aircraft and out of a total production of 21 all but one went into military service. G-ALSX which gained civil registration in Ma 1951 became a company demonstrator.

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This is page 1 of The Helicopter Production at Bristol Aeroplane Company.
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The Sycamore during RAF evaluation

The Sycamore during RAF evaluation
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Mk 3A Sycamore in civilian guise, as used by BEA

Mk 3A Sycamore in civilian guise, as used by BEA
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