The home of the world’s largest helicopter collection, The Helicopter Museum (THM) at Weston-super-Mare in North Somerset, is taking delivery on May 1st of one of the most iconic aircraft ever produced, a JetRanger helicopter.
Developed in the mid 1960s, the 5 seat turbine engined JetRanger was one of the first helicopter designs to introduce aerodynamic styling, instantly appealing to a new breed of corporate and private owners, but also finding favour with many commercial and military operators over the next 40 years.
More than 7,500 were built at factories in the United States, Canada and Italy before production finally ended in 2010, and the type remains in widespread service today. Indeed it is a JetRanger that the Museum uses every month for its Air Experience Flights. The JetRanger has also appeared in a starring role in the Bond movies “Goldfinger”, “For Your Eyes Only”, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” and “The Spy Who Loved Me” as well as featuring in numerous other films and TV sequences.
Always on the lookout for the unusual, THM has secured an Italian-built AB206 example, delivered in September 1974 by Agusta Helicopters to the Italian state police, the Carabinieri, and based at Pratica di Mare, near Rome for security and law enforcement operations for more than 30 years. The aircraft (serial MM80927) has been carefully restored in recent months by workers at the AgustaWestland facility in Frosinone and is currently being prepared for delivery to the Museum.
Chairman of THM Trustees, Elfan ap Rees,, said “We are grateful to AgustaWestland for their continued sponsorship and support of The Helicopter Museum, and in particular working with us to save and conserve historic examples like the JetRanger. We also want to thank the staff at Frosinone for the superb restoration work they have carried out”.
Following re-assembly the JetRanger is expected to be on display at the Museum by this weekend.
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