Friends of The Helicopter Museum

Bristol 171 Sycamore HR.14, XL829

Bristol 171 Sycamore HR.14, XL829, was delivered to The Helicopter Museum, in bright sunshine, on 17th October 2007 and has now replaced XG547, as the Sycamore Mk.14 on display at The Museum.

XL829 had been on display at the Bristol Industrial Museum, since 1978, until its closure in October 2006. It was transferred to Weston-super-Mare when Bristol City Council raised 17 million pounds towards converting its Prince's Wharf premises into a new venture, to be known as the 'Bristol City Museum', where there would be no space for the Sycamore. 

Conversion work on the Prince's Wharf building started at the end of October 2006. Initially planned for completion in 2009, the new Museum eventually opened as "M Shed" in June 2011.
Built in Weston-super-Mare in 1957, XL829, c/n 13474 was the last Sycamore to be delivered to the Royal Air Force and one of the last to be withdrawn from service. It was flown, in a support role, with the SAS, at El Adem, in Libya, from December 1958 and then served with the Khormaksar Search and Rescue Flight, in Aden, until March 1964, when the Flight's four Sycamores were replaced by Whirlwind HAR.10s. In April 1964 XL829 returned to the UK aboard the commando carrier HMS Albion.

In June 1966, XL829 was transferred to the RAF's Metropolitan Communications Squadron (becoming Number 32 Squadron in 1969), flying from Northolt on VIP communications duties. The four-door cabin was modified for this role and extra fixed chrome steps were fitted to the fuselage port side, to aid access.

From 1970, No.32 Squadron started replacing its five Sycamores with Whirlwinds and XL829 became the last Sycamore to be retired from the RAF. In December 1971, it was acquired by the City of Bristol Museum and was flown from Northolt to Bristol Lulsgate airport before transfer, by road, to the City Museum. There it remained in storage until 1978 when it was put on display at the then newly-opened Bristol Industrial Museum at Prince's Wharf.

Khormaksar SAR Flight Bristol Sycamore HR.14 flying over Aden XL829 on display in Bristol Industrial Museum shortly before closure in October 2006
XL829 went on public display, at The Helicopter Museum, on 12th January 2008, replacing another Sycamore Mk.14, XG547, which was transferred to the Royal Military Museum, in Brussels, in exchange for a Sud Aviation SA318C Alouette II, A41
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