In 2008, The Royal Army Museum in Brussels acquireda rare piece since long time on the priority buy list of the Museum. A Bristol Sycamore arrived at Brussels from the HelicopterMuseum in the UK delivered by transports of the Belgian Air component.
The Belgian air force used three Sycamore (Mk 14b) in Congo from 1954 until 1960
B-1 c/n 13199 (G-AMWP), OT-ZKA delivered in Kamina in April 1954, destroyed in a crash on 31/03/1960
B-2 c/n 13200 (G-AMWR), OT-ZKB delivered at Melbroek on 04/06/1954, transferred to Kamina begin 1955, written off in August 1960.
B-3 c/n 13201 (G-AMWS) OT-ZKC delivered in Kamina in mai 1954, crashed on 20/01/1956
The Sycamores were delivered new in Melsbroek and then lifted by C-119 air cargo to Congo. The helicopters were part of a rescue flight established in Kamina in support of the Belgian Air Force training school then established on this base. They were also used in support of the paratroop regiment for DZ reconnaissance, search and rescue operations or VIP transport and communication. They were the ancestors of the currently operating Sea King 40th squadron flying from Koksijde. Their use proved the need and the efficiency of a Search and Rescue helicopter equipped unit within the Belgian armed forces. The last Belgian Sycamore was destroyed at the evacuation of Kamina during the Congo independence.
The Bristol 171 Sycamore
The Bristol Sycamore is the first british helicopter manufactured and put in service in quantity. The first prototype maiden flight happened in February 1948.Produced in 200 exemplars, this helicopter was in service with the Royal Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force and Navy and the German Luftwaffe. The Sycamore was also sold on the civil market the British European Airways.
Rotor diameter 14,8
Length (rotor included) 18,63 m
Maximum speed 214 km/h
Radius 430 km
Height 3,71 m
Cruise speed 148-172 km/h
Max weight 2452 kg
Bristol 171 Sycamore Mk.14, XG547 / G-HAPR
The exemplar acquired by the Museum in exchange of an Alouette II first flow on 25th May 1956 and is the oldest Sycamore produced in Weston Super Mare (c/n 13387). Delivered to the Royal Air Force in 1956, this helicopter saw service with N° 284 squadron in Nicosia (Cyprus), later served in Lybia before to be used with the Central Flying school in Ternhill. This Sycamore was further used as an instructional airframe (under 8010M registration and sold to the BritishRotorcraftMuseum at Weston-super-Mare, now the HelicopterMuseum. It was restored in 1994.
This helicopter is basically the same as used by the Belgian Air Force used in Congo, except the absence of the lifting winch. The Sycamore was exchanged against the Alouette II A-41
This is an important witness of the SAR activities and the presence in Africa of the Belgian Air Force. This a major addition to the richest collection of aeroplane in Belgium and the second to be on display in continental Europe.
Belgium, Royal Army Museum Air & Space Hall Brussels -
Flight advertising & pictures from the Jacques Schelfaut collection about the Bristol 171 Sycamore in use with the Belgian air force. All pictures protected by visible and invisible watermark 55 photos