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The Bristol Belvedere was produced in Great Britain. Although not successful as a naval aircraft, its originally intended role, it achieved success with the RAF as a troop, supply, and weapons transport operating from land bases.
The Belvedere could carry a larger payload than any any other helicopter of its day. It could lift up to 6,000 lbs. from a sling beneath its belly. It found use in the Far East, where it transported heavy loads to and from inaccessible areas in dense jungle and without roads. A winch on the side of the helicopter could lift up to 600 lbs.
66 Squadron Belvederes.
The original prototype Belvedere had twin engines driving three bladed main tandem rotors made from wood. Once production started these were changed to four blade metal rotors. Production Bristol Belvedere helicopters also had anhedral horizontal stabilizers on each side of the fuselage. These were placed close to its tail for additional stability during forward flight.
The cockpit of the Belvedere was heated and fully equipped for instrument flight. It had provisions for an automatic pilot and dual controls for both pilot and co-pilot.
66 Squadron Belvederes flypast 1966.
While the tall undercarriage made loading and unloading of the Belvedere difficult, with the door some four feet above the ground, it was strong enough to allow operations from rough surfaces. The castored front landing gear allowed for good ground maneuverability.
Some 26 Bristol Belvedere helicopters of all types were produced. They were retired from active duty in 1969.
We want to thank Gus Strang for sharing the lower two pictures on this page with us.