Volunteers at the Helicopter Museum in Weston-super-Mare have given an iconic aircraft sculpture a new lease of life as its gate guardian. The full-size sculpture of a Bell JetRanger was donated to the museum by Barratt Homes in 2011 who had previously used it as promotional tool at new housing developments.
During the 1970s Barratts became the first UK house builder to advertise on television, commissioning commercials which featured a Bell JetRanger and later an Agusta A109 to sell new homes nationwide. Helicopters would quickly become an icon of the company and the association between the two featured in several TV shows including Only Fools and Horses. The company also used a helicopter sculpture at some of their development sites in the South West of England and it is this sculpture, essentially a full-size skeletal JetRanger, which was kindly donated to the museum in 2011 following completion of a housing development in the village of Paulton, in Somerset.
“The Barratt Homes helicopters are such great examples of rotorcraft in popular culture so we’re delighted to add their story to the museum” said Museum General Manager, Lee Mills. “The JetRanger has been restored, repainted and raised onto stilts acting as the perfect gate guardian to the museum and fitted with solar powered lights to illuminate the sculpture during evenings.”
The sculpture is part of the wider project to improve the outward appearance of the museum and open a new visitor services extension to the public during the museum’s 30th anniversary next year.
The Helicopter Museum is a registered Charity (no 281053) and home to the world’s largest collection of helicopters including two of the Queen’s Royal Flight and the World Speed Record Holder, G-LYNX.
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