Planes and Choppers
Saunders-Roe AOP.12 Skeeter XL762
With the Cierva Autogiro Company Ltd running into severe financial woes from which it would not recover, their last rotary winged product, the two-seat W-14 Skeeter light helicopter and the rights to build it were acquired by Isle of Wight-based Saunders Roe Ltd in 1951. The Skeeter prototype first flew in 1948, and after production began with Saro, the first carried out service trials with the Royal Navy in 1951. XL762 was built at Eastleigh in 1958 and was sent to Farnborough to appear on the Saro Stand for the Society of British Aircraft Constructors Display that month, before its service career with the British Army Air Corps at Middle Wallop Aerodrome. For a year from January 1959 the aircraft suffered the effects of an accident before all its faults were cured. During 1966/67 the aircraft served abroad in Germany before being declared a non-effective airframe and given the maintenance serial 8017M. The aircraft was sold to the Museum of Flight at East Fortune in 1975, where it was photographed on 26 November 2006.
Picture added on 21 February 2008