Bristol Sycamore

The Bristol 171 Sycamore is a British five-seater helicopter. It is the first built in the United Kingdom helicopter after the Second World War.

History and use

With the invasion of Europe by Allied forces in the summer of 1944, many engineers who had previously been working on gliders projects available again. The Bristol Aeroplane Company had access to these resources and began the development of a new type of helicopter. After over two years of development and construction phase, was placed in the special attention to the durability of the technical components, the prototype of the Sycamore was ready and could stand on July 27, 1947 for its first flight.

In the course of the series production, however, some changes were made. The cabin was widened, so that behind the pilot three passengers took place. The cabin structure was stiffened in order to mount a winch can and the main rotor was at the request such that it could be pivoted to (see picture right).

From February 1952 to 1959 a total of 178 aircraft were built for the Royal Air Force, the German Bundeswehr, the armed forces of Belgium and the Royal Australian Air Force as well as for civilian users British European Airways and Ansett Australia.

The Bundeswehr received 50 machines of the type Sycamore 52, of which at June 17, 1958 four were delivered to the Naval Air. Two years later, the service time of the Sycamore ended in the army.


The machine is completely made ​​of metal, has a non- retractable three- leg landing gear and has the conventional main rotor tail rotor design. Both rotors have three leaves. The Bristol 171 was the first helicopter that was developed and manufactured entirely in the UK.

While the prototype was equipped with an engine of the type Pratt & Whitney R -985, the new and stronger Alvis Leonides radial engine - came in the second built machine used. This engine should be used by default in all other built Sycamores.


The Flying Bulls of Red Bull, a copy was airworthy restored from 2010 to 2013.


A Bristol 171 is seen in the Tatort episode wake with Götz George as Schimanski.

Military use

  • Royal Australian Air Force
  • Royal Australian Navy
  • Belgian air component
  • Air force

Technical data ( Sycamore 52)

Pictures of Bristol Sycamore