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Bell 47 Sioux

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Westland Sioux AH1

Scout and liaison helicopter that preceded Gazelle. Powered by a piston engine and had a bubble canopy in front of an exposed framework that looked like Meccano, only more flimsy. Highly publicised by the film and TV series M*A*S*H. Adopted by the British Army just as everyone else was getting rid of theirs.

Selection of the Sioux in March 1964 came as a surprise to Shorts who had obtained a license to produce the Hiller 12E in anticipation of an order. The earlier Hiller 12C was already in use by the Royal Navy and was also being used by Bristow to train AAC pilots at Middle Wallop*. Therefore the utterly different Bell 47G-3B-1 was chosen; Westland bought a manufacturing license from Agusta who were already paying a license to Bell, thereby ensuring that the airframes cost more than necessary. However as Westland were unable to tool-up sufficiently quickly to meet the initial delivery dates, the first 50 Sioux were purchased directly from Agusta.

* AAC pilots continued to be trained on the Hiller before completing 70 hours of conversion time to the Sioux.

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At the controls of this particularly fine machine is one of the best looking Arrse members to have ever lived. You'll notice how superbly he is flying this wonderful aircraft and how awesome he looks too. 25 women became pregnant approx 10 minutes after this picture was taken.