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1971 Westland Aircraft Ltd

 

 

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Stock Code WAL01

 
Company Westland Aircraft Ltd was a British aircraft manufacturer based in Yeovil, Somerset.
Description Certificate no. 98789  for 400 shares of 5/- each. Blue and white certificate with imprint of company seal.
Issued To Patrick Kelly and Mrs Winnie Kelly
Issue Date 15th October 1971
Company Officers
 - Director Printed  signature
 M Barnes Secretary Printed  signature
Size 25cm wide x 20cm high

Framed Certificate Price : £57.50

Certificate Only Price : £17.50

 

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History

In 1915 the Westland Aircraft Works was founded as a division of Petters Limited in response to government orders for the construction under licence of initially 12 Short Type 184 seaplanes, followed by 20 Short Type 166 aircraft. Orders for other aircraft followed during the First World War, including the Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter, the de Havilland designed Airco DH.4, Airco DH.9 and Airco DH.9A and the Vickers Vimy. As a result of the experience gained in manufacturing aircraft under licence, Westland began to design and build its own aircraft, starting with the Westland N-1B in 1917, which was followed in 1918 by the Wagtail and the Weasel.
Following the end of war, Westland produced the Limousine and Woodpigeon light aircraft for the civilian market, but most successful was the Wapiti close support aircraft. In 1935 Petters split its aircraft manufacturing from its aircraft engine concerns to form Westland Aircraft Limited, based in Yeovil, Somerset.
The Whirlwind was the UK's first cannon-armed fighter and faster than many other British aircraft at the time but was troubled by the inability of Rolls-Royce to produce the engines. During World War II the company produced a number of undistinguished military aircraft including the Lysander, and the Welkin.
The Welkin was a twin-engine high altitude design to intercept attempts by high-flying German bombers to attack Britain. When the threat never appeared production was limited.
For much of the war their factories were used to build Supermarine Spitfires, after the Supermarine factory in Southampton was bombed out of action during the Battle of Britain, indeed Westlands built more Spitfires than any other manufacturer. Westland would then go on to be the major designers of the Supermarine Seafire, a navalised conversion of the Spitfire.
Post-war the company decided to get out of fixed-wing aircraft and concentrate solely on helicopters under a licensing agreement with Sikorsky. This upset W.E.W. Petter, the chief designer, who left to form a new aircraft division at English Electric that would go on to be very successful.
Production started with the Sikorsky S-51, which became the Dragonfly, flying for the first time in 1948, and entering service with the Royal Navy and RAF in 1953. Westland developed an improved version the Widgeon which was not a great success. Success with the Dragonfly was repeated with the Sikorsky S-55 which became the Whirlwind, and a re-engined Sikorsky S-58 in both turboshaft and turbine engine powered designs as the Wessex.
The chairmanship of Eric Mensforth from 1953–1968 marked the start of the transition, which was aided by the government when in 1959–1961 they forced the merger of the 20 or so aviation firms into three groups, British Aircraft Corporation and Hawker Siddeley Group took over fixed-wing designs, while the helicopter divisions of Bristol, Fairey and Saunders-Roe (with their hovercraft) were merged with Westland to form Westland Helicopters in 1961.
Westland inherited the Saro Skeeter helicopter, a development of the Skeeter (the P531) and the Fairey Rotodyne compound helicopter (gyrodyne) design. They continued to develop the latter sidelining their own Westland Westminster large transport design.
The company continued to produce other aircraft under licence from Sikorsky (Sea King) and Bell (Sioux). They also produced their own designs the Westland Scout and its naval variant the Westland Wasp from the P.531 which found favour with the Army Air Corps and Fleet Air Arm respectively.
In the late 1960s the company started a collaboration with Aerospatiale to design three new helicopters, the Aérospatiale Puma, Aérospatiale Gazelle and Westland Lynx, with the later being primarily a Westland design.
In 1970 Westland bought out its partners in the British Hovercraft Corporation
For many years Westland owned the main London heliport at Battersea.
Despite good support from the British establishment, the company gradually fell into unprofitability. Sikorsky approached with a bail-out deal in 1985 that split the cabinet and led to the resignation of Defence Secretary Michael Heseltine in January 1986 over the fate of Britain's sole helicopter manufacturer. The split, which became known as the Westland affair was over whether to push the company into a European deal or accept the US company's offer. Eventually, the link with Sikorsky was accepted.
Recently examples of the Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopter have also been built by Westland as the WAH-64, entering full operational service in 2005. Some of the company's Whirlwind and Wessex helicopters served the Queen's Flight (later merged into No. 32 Squadron).


GKN plc bought into Westland in 1988, initially acquiring a stake owned by Hanson plc they soon acquired the shares owned by Fiat which gave them absolute control. In 1994 Westland became a wholly owned subsidiary of GKN. It was merged with Finmeccanica's Agusta helicopter division in 1999. In 2004, Finmeccanica S.p.A. acquired GKN's share in the joint venture.
The former Westland site at the now-disused airfield in Weston-super-Mare houses The Helicopter Museum featuring a number of examples of Westland aircraft. Pride of place is given to an immaculate Westland Wessex HCC Mk.4, formerly of the Queen's Flight.

Source: www.wikipedia.org

 

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