Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Westland Aircraft since 1915 part2


Only Westland, a sturdy 76-year-old survivor, remains intact, but not untouched, in spite of industry rationalisation and take-over battles, still retaining the proud name first voiced in 1913 by the wife of Percy Potter, one of the twin brothers who founded the business. Westland is unique. Despite many vicissitudes, not le ast the traumas of its financial restructuring during 1985-86, the company stands alone, having been the core around which other British helicopter manufacturers, under Government edict, coalesced in 1959-60. No other British aircraft manufacturer has so dramatically and successfully changed from producing one type of aircraft to another of totally different concept, or has occupied the same factory site since its inception. The Westland story begins in an ironmonger's shop in Yeovil High Street during the late 1860s, moves into the manufacture of agricultural equipment and progresses into the sub-contract production of aircraft for other manufacturers during and after the 1914-18 War. The creation of military lighters and bombers, autogyros, civil transports and light aircraft, among which were the unusual tailless Pterodactyl family, spanned not only the 21 inter-war years but also those of the 1939�45 War.