Sikorsky S56 Helicopter

Oral Answers to Questions — Civil Aviation – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th May 1954.

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Photo of Mr Norman Dodds Mr Norman Dodds , Dartford 12:00 am, 12th May 1954

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation in view of the progress being made in the production of a 30–40 seater helicopter, the Sikorsky S56, which can be built in this country, what action he is taking to ensure that we do not lag behind other countries in utilising this type of aircraft.

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

I understand that the Sikorsky S56 is not in production yet in the United States, and that four military prototypes, but no civil ones, have been built there. When more is known, I shall be able to consider with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Supply whether it would be in the interests of British operators for S56s. to be built under licence in this country.

Photo of Mr Norman Dodds Mr Norman Dodds , Dartford

Does not the Minister appreciate that he must have some confidence in people? If he is going to wait until helicopters are actually made by other countries and are landing in this country we shall be in the humiliating position of having them flying into London.

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

It would help everybody if the hon. Gentleman's enthusiasm were equalled by his knowledge of the facts. I welcome the enthusiasm, but he must not assume that there is not quite close contact between our manufacturers and manufacturers in the United States upon this and kindred matters.

Photo of Mr Norman Dodds Mr Norman Dodds , Dartford

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that 10 days ago I was flying in helicopters and that I speak with as great a knowledge of them as he does.

Photo of Mr Frank Beswick Mr Frank Beswick , Uxbridge

What representations have been made by either of the two Corporations about the possibility of using this particular helicopter?

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

The B.E.A. is, of course, very interested in the development of helicopters in general in the United Kingdom, but it understands perfectly the particular stage of development of the S56. I would not in the least regard it harmful to British helicopter development if, when we know all the facts, we gave a licence to produce a foreign helicopter in this country; but before we do that we must know all the facts.

Photo of Mr Norman Dodds Mr Norman Dodds , Dartford

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest opportunity.