Friends of The Helicopter Museum

Royal Navy Volunteers Restore Museum's Westland Lynx HAS.2, XX910

In January 2011 volunteers from the Lynx Operations Support Team at RNAS Yeovilton undertook to restore The Helicopter Museum's, Oxford blue, Lynx HAS.2, XX910, for exhibition at the annual Yeovilton International Air Day on 9th July 2011. This would commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first flight of a Lynx, XW835, piloted by Ron Gellatly, in 1971.
XX910 was transported to Yeovilton, on a low-loader, on 16th February 2011 with an intention to return it to The Museum, for permanent display, later in 2011. XX910 first flew on 23rd April 1974 as one of the pre-production prototypes of the light Lynx HAS.2, ASW helicopter, intended to replace the Westland Wasp.

Piloted by John Morton in September 1974, Lynx HAS.2, XX910, flew with the Westland display team at the Farnborough Air Show (page bottom). In June 1975, it was shown at Le Bourget.
During practice for its second Farnborough Air Show, in September 1976, it became the first Lynx to perform a loop and, in November 1976, it flew HRH The Prince of Wales out to HMS Sheffield in the Solent.

 
Westland Lynx HAS.2, XX910, ready to be moved out of The Museum and lifted onto a low-loader on 16th February 2011.
 
 
   
As a Museum exhibit XX910 lacked a tail assembly, but a discarded tail boom and pylon, from Danish Navy Lynx Mk.80, S-142, and by then belonging to The Museum, were also sent to Yeovilton and used as replacements.
 
XX910 left The Museum (above left) after lunch on 16th February 2011 and was safely in 6 Hangar, RNAS Yeovilton (above right), a couple of hours later.
     
Chris Adams' photographs of The Museum's Westland Lynx HAS.2, XX910, at RNAS Yeovilton on 3rd March 2011
   
XX910 in 6 Hangar with 4-man RNAS team surveying the airframe.   Port side view of XX910 main gearbox and rotor head, with covers removed.   The cockpit of XX910, seen from the starboard side, was still incomplete.
         
 
Chris Adams took these photos of XX910's cockpit centre floor console before (left) and after (right)  replacement of missing switch panels at RNAS Yeovilton in March 2011.
 
Towards the end of March 2011 the tail cone mounting points on the airframe (above left) had been strengthened sufficiently to allow the Danish tail section to be fitted temporarily. It was later removed to allow final painting. On 21st March the cockpit instrument panel (above right) was still without half its complement of instruments and awaiting more information about the 1976 configuration. Much of this information was eventually derived from a HAS.2 photograph provided by AgustaWestland and instrument fitting continued into mid-May. Above photographs by Chris Adams.
     
XX910 Masked for Repaint XX910 with Painting nearly Completed
XX910 was taken into the paint shop at Yeovilton on 13th June 2011 and is seen (above left) with much of the spray work complete. The nose is masked off prior to application of the characteristic matt black while the tail boom and pylon await their coatings of Oxford blue. On 22nd June (above right) the final masking was removed leaving only some stencil work and fairings to be completed before the machine was moved out next day and prepared for exhibition at the 9th July 2011 Air Day. Photos by Chris Adams.
     
Thanks go to AgustaWestland for allowing use of their 1970s photo (above) of a prototype Lynx HAS.2 cockpit - probably XX910, showing most of the original panel layouts and left hand seat radar fit.
Chris Adams' photo of XX910's cockpit instrument panel on 12th May 2011 nearly restored to its 1970s state, thanks to information obtained from the Westland archive photograph.
 
Lynx HAS.2, XX910, with restoration completed, on static display at Yeovilton Air Day on July 9th 2011
 
A&AEE, Boscombe Down, are believed to have used XX910 for trials of navigation equipment up to 1978, when it was transferred to the Royal Aircraft Establishment, later DERA, at Farnborough. There it was used for Seaspray radar and other avionics trials but eventually placed in storage and kept as a source of parts for use on other airframes. Acquired by The Helicopter Museum in December 2000, XX910 had never entered operational service though it had probably been involved in some of the early trials of the Sea Skua air-to-surface missile system at the RAE Aberporth range in Cardigan Bay.

The Royal Navy's 815 Sqn sent twenty-four Lynx HAS.2 helicopters (right) to the South Atlantic in 1982, during the Falklands War. Some of these operated from the decks of HMS Sheffield, HMS Coventry, HMS Broadsword and the Amazon Class frigates.

Kathryn Sherrington, The Museum's Collections Officer said, in 2011, "We are delighted to be cooperating with RNAS Yeovilton to restore this historic aircraft. Although we have been collecting the missing parts over the years we haven't had the manpower needed to work on the aircraft, so this is a win-win solution".

 
 
Westland Lynx HAS.2, XX910, at Farnborough in September 1974
Thanks to Robin A.Walker for this photograph
     
Helicopters in the Falklands War Three THM Lynx at Yeovilton Air day 2011