|On 6th December 2012 The Helicopter Museum put
three models of the unique Fairey Rotodyne compound helicopter on
display, complementing the only surviving sections of the actual
aircraft that are also part of the collection.
The models, originally commissioned by the Fairey company in the 1950s, have been transferred from the Imperial War Museum store at Duxford, Cambridge and are on display for the first time in 50 years. One (shown right with Museum Collections Officer John Clews and Collections Volunteer Heather Bird) represents an early 1952 proposal for the vertical takeoff airliner and a second represents the final proposed Rotodyne Z of 1960, just before the project was cancelled. The third model represents the prototype Rotodyne Y, as built and flown between 1957 and 1961.
In 1981 The Helicopter Museum was able to acquire a few remaining major Rotodyne components including a 2m section of the fuselage, one Napier Eland 504 turboprop engine, the rotor head with pylon internal structure, a complete test rotor blade and several tip jets. Most of the items were refurbished, by the Museum, in 1995/96, and are now on public display.
2012 marked the 50th anniversary of the project's cancellation. Rotodyne is often described as an "idea before its time" and remains the subject of much interest by a worldwide aerospace industry which continues to seek a means of inter-city travel that doesn't require airport runways.