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Sunday 8 May 2016

A Low Budget Flying Saucer

 Here are some pictures of an odd little vehicle I saw at the Helicopter Museum in Weston-Super-Mare last week. It struck me as looking like the kind of cartoony flying saucer the Jetsons or Marvin the Martian might be see in. My previous visit to the museum was 12 or 13 years ago, and while most of the displays were just the same as last time, I don’t remember seeing this one. Either it was in storage, or else I blinked and missed it. That’s possible, since it’s half-hidden behind a screen in the far corner (possibly out of embarrassment – it’s like the airborne equivalent of a Sinclair C5).

According to the display placard, the Westland WG33 was a proposed short-range, two-seat helicopter that could be flown by inexperienced personnel and would cost less than £30,000 per unit. It was considered for use as an aerial observation platform by both the British and U.S. army in the late 1970s, but never got to the stage of a flying prototype. This full-scale mock-up was donated to the museum when the project was declassified in 1980.

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